Lawyers call for statutory inquiry into mother and baby homes



Owen Beattie
Owen Beattie

Lawyers have called for a statutory public inquiry into mother and baby homes in Northern Ireland following the publication of new research.

The Northern Ireland Executive yesterday promised a “full independent investigation” after publishing historical research it commissioned from a team of academics from Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University.

KRW LAW LLP, which acts on behalf of some survivors who were born or resident in mother and baby homes, said the research would “intensify the demand for a human-rights compliant public inquiry”.

In particular, the firm said this would have to focus on systemic abuses in the homes and the extent of collusion between those charged with administering these institutions and those charged with funding and regulating them including local authorities and the medical profession.

Owen Beattie, associate at KRW LAW LLP, said: “These appalling institutions were the dying vestiges of a mediaeval inhumanity which masqueraded as places of refuge for vulnerable women. The title ‘mother and baby homes’ is a complete misnomer. They ought to be retitled ‘mother and baby separation factories’”.

He added: “We act on behalf of many survivors who were born or resident in mother and baby homes in this jurisdiction. We reiterate the demand for a statutory public inquiry into these institutions which will give an investigative platform for victims to effectively participate.

“We also intend to make a formal representation to the PSNI seeking an urgent criminal inquiry into the mistreatment and abuse of our clients in these homes.”



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