June Comments 2018

ANON Jun 30th, 2018 @ 10:03 AM

Sazzad Miah, 83, jailed for historical child sex abuse…

An 83-year-old man who sexually abused and raped four girls over the course of more than two decades has been jailed.

Sazzad Miah, 83, of Jermyn Close, Cambridge, was convicted of 18 separate counts six of them rape - after a trial at Cambridge Crown Court.

Two of his victims were as young as four, another was aged five and a fourth was aged 10, the court heard.

Miah was arrested last October after police were tipped off about the abuse, which dated back 23 years.

The defendant, who had denied all the charges, was jailed for a total of 19 years and placed on the sex offenders register for life.

During a 16-day trial, the court heard how he abused one girl over a period of 12 years, between 1992 and 2004, and another over eight years - between 2004 and 2012.

Each one of the 18 counts carried a jail term of between 18 months and 19 years, which the court ordered should run concurrently.

At a sentencing hearing in Peterborough, Miah was jailed for 18 years, extended for one year on licence.

He was also made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) and an indefinite restraining order.

Det Insp Andrea Warren, from the Child Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit, said: "I would like thank the victims for being so courageous and supporting the investigation.

"I acknowledge how difficult that was for each of them.

"Child abuse is totally unacceptable and we will support victims of such crimes and work tirelessly to bring the offender to justice."

ANON

ANON Jun 30th, 2018 @ 10:01 AM

Sharing of unproven abuse claims must have ‘legal basis’, says agency…

Catholic dioceses refusing to share details of abuse suspects, citing data protection law

The Data Protection Commission has confirmed it would be illegal for dioceses to share information on suspected clerical abusers with the Catholic Church’s child safeguarding body.

On Thursday The Irish Times reported that the Church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children had told the Government it could not maintain a central database of priests facing child abuse allegations due to data protection concerns.

The problem was creating a “very serious deficiency” in the system set up to prevent clerical sex abuse, the board said, according to correspondence obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

The board told the Department of Justice that some dioceses and orders were not sharing information with the board or each other due to concerns about breaching data protection law.

This created a “significant obstacle” for the board’s work with potentially “devastating consequences for children”, it said.

On Thursday, a spokesman for the Data Protection Commission said there must be a legal basis for sharing personal data between organisations.

“It is understood that in this instance the data it is proposed to share would include personal data relating to the alleged commission of offences and details of criminal convictions.

“Given the sensitivity of such data, particularly where it relates to unproven allegations of child abuse, data protection law extends special protections to this type of data and requires that the highest safeguards are put in place when such data is being processed and shared between organisations.”

It said any organisation proposing to share such information must ensure it was in compliance with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.

The safeguarding body has repeatedly asked the Government to grant it powers to record the personal details of priests facing allegations, to prevent the “otherwise inevitable risk” of members of the clergy moving to other dioceses, where authorities would be unaware of the allegations.

The Government has rejected the request and said any issues could be resolved through “instruction, training, vetting,” and consultation between religious bodies and Tusla.

ANON

ANON Jun 30th, 2018 @ 09:58 AM

1/2...UK man convicted of abusing two girls in Ireland…

UK businessman convicted of sexually abusing two girls targeted them when they were being neglected by their mother and moved the family to Ireland to avoid detection.

The 37-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victims, was found guilty at the Central Criminal Court of three counts of rape and eight counts of sexually assaulting two girls at addresses in Dublin and Louth between 3 December 2010 and 10 March 2011 when they were aged 10 and 12 years old.
Mr Justice Michael White noted that the man still maintains his innocence and disputes the verdicts.

He said a mitigating factor of a guilty plea was not available to him in sentencing.

He imposed a 14-year custodial sentence but suspended the last two years on condition that the man keep the peace for the entirety of the 14-year sentence.

He also ordered that the man must participate in the "Better Lives" treatment programme for sex offenders to avail of the suspension.

The judge said these were "grave offences" and crimes at the most serious level.

He said it was clear the offences had had a "devastating" effect on the two victims who would have to live with the breach on their innocence for the rest of their lives.

An investigation was launched after the two girls had been taken into care in 2011 and the man fled to Chile.

He was extradited from the United States in 2014 after gardaí heard he was planning to fly to Florida for a business trip and was brought back to Ireland after US marshals in Florida handed him over to Gardaí.

ANON

ANON Jun 30th, 2018 @ 09:56 AM

2/2...Detective Garda Michael Scanlon told Pauline Walley SC, prosecuting, that the girls were living with their mother and younger siblings in the UK.

The man came into their lives in early 2010 and shortly afterwards, the family moved into his house in a nearby upmarket area.

He showered the children with gifts, holidays and trips to theme parks. UK social services had already been heavily involved with the mother and children and they became increasingly concerned that the man had daily control of the children and appeared to be involved in their "physical grooming".

In November 2011, when UK social services ramped up their intervention with the family, the family left the jurisdiction "under the control" of the man and moved to Co Louth.

The court heard the mother was often absent from the family home, travelling to the UK or other parts of Ireland.

The man regularly sexually assaulted both girls. This progressed to rape on a number of occasions.

Det Gda Scanlon said that in December 2010, the man and the older girl travelled to Dublin and got caught up in the snowy weather at the time.

They ended up staying the night in a hotel and the man sexually assaulted and raped the girl in the room that night.

Later that night, when the girl was asleep, local gardaí called to the room to check up on her.

This was due to a notification in the system from UK social services.

They found nothing untoward, saw that the girl was asleep and left.

There was a delay in communication between UK and Irish social services, with Irish social services only getting involved with the family in January 2011

ANON

ANON Jun 28th, 2018 @ 09:50 AM

1/2...Church body warns of legal barriers to addressing abuse failings…
Safeguarding board told Government it had no central database of priests facing allegations

The Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog has said legal barriers are preventing it from addressing “serious and widespread” failings in how some allegations of clerical sexual abuse are handled.

Data protection concerns are preventing the National Board for Safeguarding Children from keeping a central database of priests who are facing child abuse allegations, with potentially “devastating consequences for children”, the organisation’s board told the Department of Justice in April.

The problem was creating a “very serious deficiency” in the system set up to prevent clerical sex abuse, the board said, according to correspondence obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Citing data protection concerns, some dioceses and orders are not sharing identifying information about alleged abusers with the board, or between each other, which creates a “significant obstacle” in ensuring safeguarding standards, the board told the department.

Over the last year the board has repeatedly asked the department to introduce regulations to allow it to record the personal details of priests facing allegations, to prevent the “otherwise inevitable risk” of members of the clergy moving to other dioceses, where authorities would be unaware of the allegations.

The board was set up by the bishops in 2006, in the wake of a series of major clerical sex abuse scandals, to independently audit child protection standards across the Catholic Church.

During audits of dioceses and religious orders, the board said it had come across “many instances where allegations of clerical child sexual abuse has not been notified to the statutory agencies” or to the relevant bishop.

Shortcomings in how clerical abuse allegations are handled, witnessed in the last 10 years “may continue to arise” if action is not taken, the board warned the department.

The board said the changes being sought would allow it to monitor if church authorities failed to pass allegations to An Garda Síochána or Tusla, the child and family agency.

ANON

ANON Jun 28th, 2018 @ 09:48 AM

2/2...The department rejected the proposals on April 10th, saying any current failures in reporting abuse allegations could be resolved through further “instruction, training, vetting,” and consultation between religious bodies and Tusla.

The safeguarding board’s solicitors told the department on April 23rd that this suggestion showed a “marked misunderstanding of the serious nature” of the shortcomings.

Under current guidelines any priest moving between dioceses should get prior permission to celebrate Mass in another area, but this practice is sometimes “disregarded”, it said, adding that it had come across cases of “abusing priests” moving around the country.

The covering up of clerical abuse by moving priests who sexually abused children across the country was a feature of past Catholic Church abuse scandals.

The safeguarding board said that if it could maintain a list of current allegations against priests, it could alert local church authorities if suspect priests moved into their areas, “in cases where there is potential risk to children”.

A spokesman for the safeguarding board told The Irish Times it was not aware of any State body carrying out this oversight role currently.

Briefing notes prepared for Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said officials had “serious reservations” about approving the requested powers. The department notes said the board “has not advanced a compelling case” for the regulations it was seeking.

If individual dioceses or religious orders were failing to follow child protection laws, this should be addressed by the internal governing bodies of the Catholic Church, the briefing notes from April advised.

Officials cautioned against giving “an unregulated non-governmental body” the extensive powers requested under data protection regulations, to hold “extremely sensitive personal data, including unproven criminal allegations”.

The department also had concerns that granting the board such powers could pose risks to Tusla or Garda investigations, a spokesman said.

ANON

ANON Jun 26th, 2018 @ 12:54 PM

'It's important we do this for them' - over 70 names to be added to Protestant mother and baby home memorial…

A new headstone will be erected for 72 people who died in Protestant mother and baby homes this week in Dublin.

It will mark the deaths of 71 children and one mother that died in the Bethany Home as well as four newly found mother and baby homes- Smyly Home, Miss Carrs, Magdalene Asylum and Irish Church Missions, according to founder of the Bethany Home Survivors Group Derek Leinster.

The headstone is being erected by the Bethany Home Survivors Group and will join the existing 227 names on the current memorial in Mount Jerome cemetery.

"I was born in the Bethany Home in Rathgar. I'm trying to get justice for those that died there before it's too late," Leinster told Independent.ie.

"I started this campaign in 1998 to get redress for the Protestant survivors. Many people see it only as a Catholic issue."

Born in the Bethany Home in 1941, Leinster moved to the UK at the age of 18 to start a new life for himself after spending his early teenage years in a foster home in Ireland.

Leinster says he has been researching the Protestant mother and baby homes for almost all his life, and only recently came across the four new-found homes.

"I got information in 2007 which made me believe there had to be more deaths in the Bethany Home. I was doing all this research from England when we found this load of children and the four new Protestant homes that have never been researched.

"Most of the survivors are now dead or have dementia, so it's important we do this for them."

The memorial will take place this Friday June 29 at 4pm in Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin. A white dove will be released during the ceremony to "symbolise the souls of the innocent freed from the injustice of the world" and a bagpiper will lead supporters to the new memorial.

ANON

ANON Jun 16th, 2018 @ 10:35 AM

1/2...Jail for priest who assaulted boy, 12…

A priest who indecently assaulted a 12-year-old boy at a school in Co Cork in the 1980s has been jailed for a year.

Tadhg O’Dalaigh of Woodview, Mount Merrion Avenue, Blackrock, Dublin, was convicted by a jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court earlier this year on a charge of indecently assaulting the boy on an unknown date between September 1, 1980, and January 28, 1981, at the Sacred Heart college, also known as Colaiste An Chroi Naofa, Carraig Na Bhfear, Co Cork.

Speaking through Sgt Anna Marie Guiney, the victim said he suffered depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and self-worth as a result of being sexually abused by O’Dalaigh at the age of 12. He said it impacted on his physical and emotional health and gave rise to suicidal ideation.

The victim said he began to use alcohol when he was still in school in an effort to block out what happened to him and he went on to develop a self-destructive pattern.

“I feel my youth was taken from me and most of my future potential was taken from me.

I know what happened was not my fault and not to feel ashamed.

“I carried this long enough. It rests 100% with the defendant. The last few years have been the best years of my life.

I have peace of mind and am grateful to my wife.”

Judge Brian O’Callaghan noted that O’Dalaigh, now 74, had previously served a total of six years in jail for other similar offences but he said, “he must serve time for what he did”.

ANON

ANON Jun 16th, 2018 @ 10:32 AM

2/2A jury took less than two hours to reach a unanimous guilty verdict earlier this year.

The court heard the assault took place when the young boy was sick in bed.
The victim said: “He put his hand down and touched my testicles and penis. He did that.

I just lay there. I didn’t know what to do.

“It was probably a minute, a minute and a half.

That is a long time when he is at me. He stopped. He left. I was left lying there. That is basically what happened.”

He said he did not tell anyone about it until about 30 years later.

During the trial, O’Dalaigh denied the assault took place.

However, yesterday the court was told he now accepted it happened although he had no memory of it. O’Dalaigh, through his lawyer, said he wanted to apologise sincerely and profusely to the injured party.

Defence counsel said the accused is still a priest but did not have a congregation and was in effect under house arrest.

Judge Brian O’Callaghan imposed a two-year jail sentence with half of it suspended.

“This was not an off-the-cuff act on the part of the accused.

It was a clear, intentional act on the part of the accused. In terms of culpability and harm caused this is indeed a most grave offence.”

ANON

ANON Jun 16th, 2018 @ 10:30 AM

1/2...Man given suspended sentence for abusing boy (7) will now serve two-year sentence following DPP appeal…

A Galway native who was given a wholly suspended sentence for abusing a seven-year-old boy 30 years ago is to hand himself in to gardai on Monday after his original sentence was found too lenient.

Anthony Spellman (50), formerly of McHugh Avenue, Mervue in Galway, but who now resides in the UK, pleaded guilty to four sample counts of indecently assaulting a boy at his home and nearby locations on dates between January 1, 1985 and January 31, 1986.

He was given a wholly suspended 56 month sentence by Judge Rory McCabe at Galway Circuit Criminal Court on May 31, 2017.

The Director of Public Prosecutions successfully sought a review of Spellman’s sentence on grounds that it was “unduly lenient”.

He is to hand himself into gardai in Galway on Monday to begin a new two year jail term.

Giving judgment in the three-judge Court of Appeal, Mr Justice Alan Mahon said the indecent assaults occurred when the victim was aged seven and Spellman aged 19.

Mr Justice Mahon said the abuse occurred three to four times a week over a period of approximately 12 months.

Spellman, a member of a large family, moved and emigrated to England shortly after the abuse occurred and he has resided there for about 30 years.

He was married but is now in another relationship.

He had a good work record but was dismissed “directly as a consequence of his conviction” and lost a subsequent job when his new employer became aware of his conviction from the internet.

The judge said Spellman may have to move address in the UK because of knowledge of his conviction in the local area.

ANON

ANON Jun 16th, 2018 @ 10:28 AM

2/2...Mr Justice Mahon said Spellman had received a Risk of Sexual Harm Order (RoSHO) from South Cheshire Magistrates Court for sending explicit text messages to a 15-year-old boy.

It expired in 2014 and would not have become a conviction unless he failed to comply with its terms. He apparently did not fail to comply.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Gerardine Small BL, submitted that the sentencing judge did not have due regard to the gravity of the offending and the circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime.

Ms Small said the injured party was at the tender age of seven when the abuse began.

There was no early guilty plea - a jury had been empaneled for the week and it was only at that stage that Spellman pleaded guilty.

There was no cooperation with gardai and no admissions were made. Spellman denied even knowing the injured party, Ms Small said.

Mr Justice Mahon said the suspension of the sentence in its entirety was unduly lenient.

He said the court took account of the fact that Spellman had been at liberty in the intervening period and his incarceration now would be a “severe disappointment” to him.

The court prolonged the suspended period to a greater extent than it would have at first instance.

Mr Justice Mahon, who sat with Mr Justice John Edwards and Mr Justice John Hedigan, resentenced Spellman to 56 months imprisonment with the final 32 months suspended leaving him with a net jail term of two years.

He was required to enter into a good behaviour bond and he undertook to be so bound.

Spellman is to present himself to a garda station in Galway on Monday to begin his new jail term.

ANON

ANON Jun 13th, 2018 @ 10:48 AM

Oxford grooming gang: Six members jailed…

Six men from Oxford who groomed and sexually abused teenage girls between 1998 and 2005 have been jailed.

Assad Hussain, 37, of Iffley Road, will serve a life sentence with a minimum term of 12 years for multiple rapes.

Judge Peter Ross said victims were brought into the group, who were convicted of more than 20 offences, through flattery, drugs and alcohol.

Oxford Crown Court heard they were also subjected to threats and violence, and made to have sex with other men around.

'Fear and violence'

Hussain was described as using one victim as a "sexual object".

Judge Ross said Moinul Islam, of Wykeham Crescent, who was jailed for 15 years and nine months, had a child "completely at his mercy".
In his summing up he said sexual abuse had become "the norm" for the men.

The NSPCC said the victims, aged between 13 and 15, "would not be silenced" despite a "campaign of fear and violence" from the men.

Two other members of the gang - Kamran Khan, 36, from Bolton and Raheem Ahmed, 41, from Oxford - were jailed in April.

ANON

ANON Jun 13th, 2018 @ 10:46 AM

Verdicts and sentences…

:: Assad Hussain, 37, of Iffley Road, Oxford, guilty of five counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault, sentenced to life, to serve a minimum term of 12 years

:: Kameer Iqbal, 39, of Dashwood Road, Oxford, guilty of three counts of rape, sentenced to 12 years

:: Khalid Hussain, 38, of Ashhurst Way, Oxford, guilty of rape and indecent assault, sentenced to 12 years

:: Kamran Khan, 36, of Northfield Road, Bolton, guilty of indecent assault and false imprisonment, sentenced to 8 years

:: Moinul Islam, 41, of Wykeham Crescent, Oxford, guilty of rape, two counts of indecent assault and supplying cannabis, sentenced to 15 years and nine months

:: Raheem Ahmed, 40 of Starwort Path, Oxford, guilty of two counts of indecent assault and false imprisonment, sentenced to 12 years

:: Alladitta Yousaf, 48, of Bodley Road, Oxford, guilty of indecent assault, sentenced to 7 years and 6 months

:: Haji Khan, 38, of the Willows, Oxford, guilty of conspiracy to rape, sentenced to 10 years

ANON

ANON Jun 12th, 2018 @ 10:43 AM

Ex-principal at Northern Ireland school to stand trial for sex offences against nine boys…

A former primary school principal is to stand trial accused of sexual offences against nine boys, a judge ordered on Monday.

Christian Brother Paul Dunleavy appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court to face a total of 41 charges.

The 82-year-old, with an address at the Province Centre, Griffith Avenue in Dublin, allegedly committed multiple counts of indecent assault and gross indecency towards a child.

He is also accused of attempted buggery and inciting gross indecency.

The charges span a ten-year period between 1969 and 1978.

At the time Dunleavy taught at the now-closed St Colman's Abbey Primary School in Newry.

During a preliminary enquiry hearing he confirmed that he understood the allegations against him.

Prosecutors submitted that he has a prima facie case to answer.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall granted an application to have the accused returned for Crown Court trial on a date to be fixed, the Courts Service confirmed.

Dunleavy was released on continuing bail of £500 until those proceedings get underway.

ANON

ANON Jun 12th, 2018 @ 10:41 AM

Ex-priest Curran in court on historical sex abuse charge…

A former Northern Ireland priest has appeared in court accused of historical sex abuse.

Standing in the dock of Downpatrick Magistrates Court on Monday, June 11, 68-year-old Daniel John Curran confirmed his name and that he was aware of the charge against him.

Curran, from Bryansford Avenue in Newcastle, is accused of indecently assaulting a male on a date unknown between August 16, 1989 and August 18, 1991.

None of the evidence surrounding the 30-year-old charges was opened in court in the short Preliminary Enquiry, the legal step necessary to move a case to the higher Crown Court, but a prosecuting lawyer submitted that the crown papers and witness statements formed the basis of a Prima Facie case against him.

The court clerk told Curran that although not obliged to, he had the right to comment on the charge or call witnesses on his behalf but that anyone giving evidence was liable to cross examination.

Curran declined the opportunity however, telling the court clerk simply “no,” to each of the questions.

Freeing the former priest on his own bail of £500, District Judge Amanda Brady returned the case to Downpatrick Crown Court for trial but said the arraignment would be in a date to be fixed.

Curran’s defence solicitor asked for legal aid to be extended to allow for a senior QC to be instructed in the defence case but Judge Brady told him “if you want two counsel you can apply to the Crown Court Judge.”

Ordinarily, defendants are taken into custody until their bail papers are ready to sign but following a defence application, the judge said Curran “doesn’t have to go into custody” but could wait with his solicitor to sign his bail.

ANON

ANON Jun 8th, 2018 @ 05:59 PM

1/2...Big spike in Church child abuse claims…

A significant rise in the number of allegations of child sexual abuse relating to the Catholic Church was recorded in the last year, a report by a safeguarding body reveals.

However, the allegations received related to historic cases with the most recent alleged incident dating to 2002.

The National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) said the figures did not suggest the Church was becoming less safe for children.

The board’s latest report showed, in the year ending March 31, 2018, church authorities made 135 notifications of allegations to the NBSCCCI, of which 104 related to child sexual abuse.

“This is a significant increase over the previous year when the number of new allegations relating to child sexual abuse amounted to 72.

“The overall number reported in 2016/17 was 86,” the report noted.

The reported 135 notifications relate to 35 diocesan priests and 63 members of religious orders or congregations.

Of those 98 individuals, 45 are deceased, 32 are alive and, in 21 cases, an identity was not provided by the complainant.

However, the chief executive of NBSCCCI, Teresa Devlin emphasised the reports were not recent allegations and that the claims may have been prompted by the reporting of high-profile cases in the media.

ANON

ANON Jun 8th, 2018 @ 05:57 PM

2/2“...The falling trend reported on for the previous three years has been reversed for both the number of new allegations and the number of respondents,” she said.

“To be clear, with one exception, most of the alleged abusive behaviour occurred before 2000, in line with previous reports and should not be taken to indicate that the Church is currently becoming a less safe place for children.

“However, the fact that allegations continue to be reported and that there is an increase in the number of reports is an important sign that there are still complainants who require a pastoral response and that any complacency is misplaced,” Ms Devlin said.

“We believe that the upturn in reporting of abuse is linked to the media reporting of high-profile abuse cases. Often simply seeing and hearing people talk about what they went through gives victims the strength and resolve to report what was done to them.

“The fact that they come forward is to be lauded as it allows them to access the support they need and organisations like ours to better understand the mistakes made and how to rectify them,” Ms Devlin said.

The report also suggests that the most serious future challenge facing the Church “is derived from the digital age in which we live”.

“While digital media can have a positive influence on children’s lives, it also presents risks that need to be managed,” Ms Devlin said.

“Within the Church context, it is critical that all opportunities are taken to safeguard children from abuse and exploitation online.”

ANON

ANON Jun 5th, 2018 @ 03:38 PM

Magdalene redress scheme set to be extended….

Women who worked in St Finbarr’s Industrial School and Marymount Training Centre in Cork are among those who may benefit from the Government decision to extend its Magdalene laundries redress scheme to 14 additional institutions.

The extension of the Magdalen Restorative Justice Scheme beyond the 12 laundries to women resident in adjoining institutions comes as up to 200 laundry survivors arrive in Dublin for a two-day event at which they will be honoured.

The decision to expand redress comes more than six months after Ombudsman Peter Tyndall published a scathing report into the scheme, which found the Department of Justice had wrongly refused some Magdalene laundry survivors access to redress payments.

A key recommendation of Mr Tyndall’s report was that the department reconsider the applications of women who worked in one of the listed laundries but who were recorded as having been “admitted” to a training centre or industrial school in the same building, attached to or located on the grounds of the laundry.

A key piece of information in relation to the Ombudsman was uncovered in a 2015 Irish Examiner investigation, showing that evidence An Grianán training centre and High Park Magdalene laundry were “one and the same thing” was uncovered by the HSE in 2011. Despite this, it was excluded from the redress scheme.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said that, under the extended scheme, a “general” payment will be made for the entire period of residency and a “work” payment for the period of work in a laundry.

The Government introduced the Magdalene Restorative Justice Ex Gratia Scheme in 2013. Since then, 692 applicants have been paid over €26m in lump-sum payments.

The Oireachtas Justice Committee heard in March that seven laundry survivors had died without receiving a penny of redress they were granted in 2013.

ANON

ANON Jun 5th, 2018 @ 03:30 PM

MLA calls for probe into non-voluntary adoptions at Irish homes…

An ongoing review of mother and baby homes must investigate claims of non-voluntary adoptions, an MLA has said.

A BBC investigation broadcast last night reported allegations about cross-border adoptions at a home run by Catholic nuns in Northern Ireland.

It included claims that some children may have been moved out of the UK without their mothers' consent from Marianvale mother and baby home.

The facility in Newry operated between 1955 and 1984. One woman was issued with three birth certificates in three countries.

The Catholic Good Shepherd Sisters said adoptions were "conducted strictly in accordance with the legislation".

Mid-Ulster MLA Linda Dillon said the claims, in the Radio 4 programme 'The Lost Children of Marianvale', were no surprise.

She said: "In my engagements with many who have been through the mother and baby homes, it became clear that the rights of mothers and children were routinely ignored by those in authority.

"The issue of multiple birth certificates and children being routinely moved to other countries has been a key feature in what survivors have spoken about."

In January the Department of Health said it had commissioned research on mother and baby homes and Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland.

Ms Dillon added: "I have made it clear to the Department of Health, the sponsor department for the review of the mother and baby homes, that the whole issue of the removal of children from their mothers without consent must be a part of their work.

"There is a clear onus on everyone who has information about what took place in the mother and baby homes to bring it forward to help end the anguish that so many families are still suffering."

Patrick Corrigan, the Northern Ireland programme director of Amnesty International, called for an independent inquiry into the allegations.

ANON

ANON Jun 5th, 2018 @ 03:26 PM

1/3...Former residents of Magdalene laundries and mother and baby homes in Northern Ireland have been urged to take part in new research...

Hundreds of local women were forced to stay in facilities run by the state, as well as Catholic and Protestant organisations.

Relatively little is known about how the organisations here were run compared to those in the Irish Republic.

There, survivors of Magdalene laundries and their relatives have relived the horrors of rape, abuse and lost lives as they renewed calls for redress.

Last month, a BBC investigation reported that some children may have been moved out of the UK without their mothers’ consent from Marianvale mother and baby home in Newry, which operated between 1955 and 1984.

The Department of Health has commissioned a year-long research project to build up a detailed picture of the day-to-day practices of a number of relvant institutions, which may be used to decide if a full public inquiry is needed.

The researchers have also confirmed they will address the allegations of illegal adoption.

Professor Sean O’Connell from Queen’s University, Belfast is leading the research with Dr Leanne McCormick from Ulster University.

ANON

ANON Jun 5th, 2018 @ 03:24 PM

2/3..Professor O’Connell said: “A smaller number of residential homes operated as so-called Magdalene laundries and a large number of women worked in them, for various lengths of time.

“We know a lot about the general history of these mother and baby homes and Magdalene homes; for example, they were all closed by the 1980s and 1990s.

“However, much is unknown about the circumstances in which young women found themselves in these institutions.”

Dr McCormick urged women who experienced life as a resident of a mother and baby home and/or a Magdalene laundry in Northern Ireland to come forward.

Others with dealings with these institutions at any point before the 1990s have been encouraged to take part.

They include clergy, members of religious orders, social workers, family welfare officers, adoption agency employees, medical staff and health and safety inspectors.

Dr McCormick said she understood the experiences were deeply personal and could be distressing for residents and their wider families.

“We can reassure any participants that the research will be conducted in a sensitive manner and that there will also be support systems in place for those who choose to come forward to share their personal testimony.

“The identities of all interviewees will also be anonymous and will not be revealed without their written permission.”

ANON

ANON Jun 5th, 2018 @ 03:22 PM

3/3..The institutions included in the research are:

:: 1 Good Shepherd Sisters / Marianville / St Mary’s - 511 Ormeau Rd, Belfast - Type: Mother and Baby Home / Magdalene Laundry

:: 2 Good Shepherd Sisters/ Marianvale / St Mary’s - 132 Armagh Rd, Newry - Type: Mother and Baby Home / Magdalene Laundry

:: 3 Good Shepherd Sisters / St Mary’s - Derry Magdalene Laundry,

:: 4 Mater Dei Hostel, 298 Antrim Rd, Belfast - Type: Mother and Baby Home

:: 5 Belfast Midnight Mission / Malone Place Rescue and Maternity Home - Malone Road, Belfast - Type: Mother and Baby Home / Magdalene Laundry

:: 6 Thorndale House (Salvation Army) - Duncairn Avenue, Belfast - Type: Mother and Baby Home

:: 7 Kennedy House - 8 Cliftonville Ave, Belfast - Type: Mother and Baby Home

:: 8 Hopedene Hostel - 55 Dundeal Avenue - Type: Mother and Baby Home

:: 9 Belfast Welfare Hostel - Lisburn Rd, Belfast - Type: Local authority former workhouse

:: 10 Coleraine Welfare Hostel - Type: Local authority former workhouse

:: 11 Mount Oriel Hostel - 4 Mount Oriel, Belfast - Type: Mother and Baby Home

:: 12 Deanery Flatlets - Type: Independent accommodation for unwed mothers

:: 13 Pre-1948 Workhouses - Type: Multifunctional institutions that catered for various groups including unmarried mothers