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I’ve met my mum, 103, after lifetime search

A PENSIONER of 81 is on cloud nine after meeting her 103-year-old mother for the first time.

Irishwoman Eileen Macken said she had never been happier — and her mum Elizabeth ‘never let go of my hand’.

She grew up in the Bethany Home orphanage in Dublin and has spent most of her life looking for her birth mother. A genealogist tracked her down in Scotland.

Eileen told RTE Radio 1’s Liveline programme: ‘Once I heard that, nothing would stop me trying to get to see her.’

She recalled: ‘I went over to see her and she’s the most beautiful lady, lovely family, they gave me a great welcome.

‘We came in and, honestly, I haven’t got over the acceptance that I got.

‘They accepted me and I had a great chat with my mother.’

The Bethany mother-and-baby home in Dublin has been one of a number scrutinised by an Irish government-appointed Commission of Investigation.

The homes, run by Protestant clergy, were generally institutions where women who became pregnant outside marriage gave birth. In the main, the babies were adopted.

Eileen travelled to Scotland with her family to meet Elizabeth, who celebrates turning 104 tomorrow.

The mum-of-three also discovered that she has two half-brothers, one of whom answered the door when she knocked at the start of her three-day trip.

She told Liveline: ‘I told him I was from Ireland and that I had found my mum here and could we come in to see her, and he said, “Certainly”.’

Eileen said of her mum: ‘She was reading the newspaper and when she saw me, I said we were from Ireland, and she said, “I was born in Ireland”.

‘She was thrilled and she never let go of my hand.’

Eileen admitted: ‘I don’t think I’ll ever come down out of the cloud.’