Christus Rex* in April 1960 on unmarried mothers: "the mother can keep [the baby] but traditionally the family attitude is harsh and unforgiving and the mother can rarely manage to earn both a living for herself and the child" (*Irish Catholic sociology journal)
Sad reality is mother and baby homes were economic necessity given attitudes to 'fallen mothers' at time (which report suggests reflected by clergy, not created by them). Marriages few + late until 1960s; small farmers understandably wanted to keep land in family. Ch 9 points out
In 1926 "72% of Irish men between the ages of 23 and 43 were unmarried" (Diarmaid Ferriter's 'Occasions of Sin', p 103)

In 1945 farmers married at average age of 38.2

Marriages few and late because of wish to preserve farm intact and within family, dowries also very important.
Eugenic sterilisation of unmarried mothers practised in 27 US states, Switzerland and Denmark ("to protection against a visible dissolution of sexual morals among women") and rest of Scandinavia ('it was widely believed in Scandinavia that the degenerate were more promiscious')
Ch 35: "The Commission has seen no evidence that the religious orders which ran the institutions made a profit...All the evidence suggests that they struggled to make ends meet"

Local authorities gave meagre funding, often late. Helps explain suboptimal conditions + overcrowding
Under Institutional Assistance
Regulations 1954, homes could legally require a contribution from women but no evidence they ever demanded any payment nor deducted maternity allowance (introduced in 1953), unmarried mother’s allowance (1973-), nor salary of working mothers.
This was not the case for elderly residents in country homes run by local authorities, whose pensions were indeed deducted
Commission asked Dutch historian Nelleke Bakker to give summary of similar homes in NL, one of which had infants "locked in a room behind a barrier during the day, creeping around without pants, or shoes and without toys, with faeces lying around, even being eaten out of boredom"

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More from @scary_biscuits

14 Jan
In the Spanish Civil War, Irish public opinion was overwhelmingly pro-Franco. The ICF collected £43,331 for Spain in 1936-37. Leitrim and Donegal County Councils passed motions condemning the Second Republic as "delegation of authority to a Jaunta [sic] of Godless Communists"
Kilkenny Corporation even awarded Franco the freedom of the City for his role as "defender of Christianity"
This pamphlet was widely circulated - author was English convert to Irish republicanism and member of FF executive Image
Read 5 tweets
12 Jan
What nonsense, the report found no evidence that women were coerced into these institutions. And it is ridiculous to compare Ireland in the 50s or 60s to dictatorships
"Many were destitute"; report claims they entered these homes because they had no money, the alternative was emigration or they didn't want their neighbours (i.e. "society") to find out about their pregnancy. They were not forced and the orders made no profit from them
Some families also sent them there. But there is no evidence of any religious or state coercion. The homes were a product of social and economic conditions at the time. 'Society' isn't to blame, but nor is the Church or their families.
Read 7 tweets
11 Jan
"His nightly routine includes a glass of whiskey and milk." (h/t @noonofday)
he says: “I have milk and whiskey every night, a glass of whiskey... I never diluted whiskey, I felt that the man who made it the first day knew exactly how much water to put it, there was no need for me to go improving it.”
“I was in the Bronx hospital, every night at 11, the staff would come round asking if anyone wanted a cup of tea or coffee? I had no interest in tea or coffee, I would just love a glass of milk”
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