Mother and Baby Homes - Magdalene laundries

In February 2016, the then NI Executive agreed to establish an inter-departmental working group to take forward work on Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries and historical clerical child abuse which fell outside the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI).

The HIAI did not consider Mother and Baby Homes / Magdalene laundries because the Terms of Reference of the HIAI related only to certain residential homes or institutions exclusively for children. 

The Independent Chair

Following an open competition, Peter McBride was appointed as independent Chair of the Inter-Departmental Working Group with effect from 3 June 2019. Prior to this, the position was held by Norah Gibbons from February 2017 until her resignation in March 2018.

The Inter-Departmental Working Group

The Working Group is independently chaired and jointly sponsored by the Department of Health (DoH) and The Executive Office (TEO). The Executive agreed that the DoH would be the lead department for the work on Mother and Baby Homes / Magdalene Laundries and TEO would be the lead department for the work on historical clerical child abuse.

What will the Working Group do?

The Working Group will consider the evidence about the operation of Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries and make recommendations to the Executive on what action to take. 

The Working Group will also separately consider the evidence relating to historical clerical child abuse and make recommendations to the Executive on the way forward. 

This information will be made available shortly

Research

Relatively little is currently known about the operation of Mother and Baby Homes or Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland. DOH has commissioned researchers from Queen’s University Belfast and the Ulster University to examine the operation of both types of institution across Northern Ireland from 1922-1999 and also the wider historical and social context they operated within over that time.

Latest updates

Following an open competition, Peter McBride was appointed as the new independent Chair of the Inter-Departmental Working Group with effect from 3 June 2019.

The press release in relation to the appointment can be accessed online.

This will be populated with further updates when available.

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