Josepha Madigan compares issues around schools reopening to Mother and Baby Homes 1 month ago

Josepha Madigan compares issues around schools reopening to Mother and Baby Homes

“We’ve spent the last week talking about Mother and Baby Homes..."

Josepha Madigan has compared the issue around schools reopening amid the Covid-19 pandemic to the institutional abuse suffered by those living in Ireland's Mother and Baby Homes.

The Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion mentioned the Mother and Baby Homes today when discussing the government's scrapping of its plan to reopen special education schools this week.

Speaking to Claire Byrne on RTÉ radio this morning, Madigan said: “We’ve spent the last week talking about Mother and Baby Homes where our most vulnerable were left to their own devices in less than satisfactory conditions.

"We’re now allowing further anxiety and upset to be placed on the shoulders of parents whose children desperately need to go back to school.”

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The investigation into the lives of the women and children who lived in 18 of Ireland's Mother and Baby Homes between 1992 and 1998 was released last week. The report found that 9,000 children had died in the homes under State care, and that many women suffered traumatic birth experiences.

This comes after Madigan faced scrutiny last week for describing children not attending special education schools as "normal."

She said: "We all know that even for normal children remote teaching is difficult, but for children who have additional needs it is particularly difficult.”

Minister Madigan later apologised for the comments on Twitter, stating: “I sincerely apologise for my language. It is absolutely not what I meant to say."