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Mother and baby home victims ‘paid price for Ireland’s warped attitudes’

Deadly: The Sean Ross Abbey home in Roscrea, where 1,000 children died PICTURE: PA

IRELAND is to officially apologise after a commission exposed the ‘stifling, oppressive and brutally misogynistic culture’ of mother and baby homes where thousands died.

Around 56,000 unmarried mums and 57,000 children were in homes across the country from 1922 to 1998, when the last one closed.

In that time, an ‘appalling level of infant mortality’ — around 15 per cent — led to the deaths of 9,000 children, the report reveals.

Prime minister Micheál Martin said yesterday: ‘We did this to ourselves as a society — we treated women exceptionally badly. We treated children extremely badly.

‘We had a completely warped attitude to sexuality and intimacy, and young mothers and their sons and daughters were forced to pay a terrible price. What was very striking was the absence of basic kindness. As a nation, we must face up to the full truth of our past.’

He is also expected to announce compensation, memorials, trauma support and a database of victims. The scandal emerged in 2014 when bodies were found in an unmarked grave at a former home in Tuam, Co. Galway, where 796 children died.

More than 1,000 died of illnesses including malnutrition at another home in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.