DCSIMG

‘Those children need to be recognised’

St Joseph Community Hospital, Stranorlar is located on the site of the former Donegal County Home.

St Joseph Community Hospital, Stranorlar is located on the site of the former Donegal County Home.

A Donegal woman said she does not want the story of women and babies at the Donegal County Home to be forgotten.

“I want to see all this being recognised and these children recognised,” she said. “And I don’t want this to ever happen to anybody again.”

She said, “I don’t want to let it lie and I don’t think it should lie. I think those wee children need to be recognised at the end of the day.”

The woman, who did not want to be identified, said she wanted to share her story so that the experiences of women in the Donegal County Home would be remembered. St. Joseph’s Community Hospital in Stranorlar now sits on the site where the home had been.

Mary, not her real name, was in the County Home in the 1950s. She thinks often of the baby she delivered while at the home, who died some weeks later. After all these years she has been unable to find his death certificate or his grave.

“It seems as though he just didn’t exist, and at that age you don’t even have a photo of him,” Mary said, tears in her eyes.

She recalled long days of hard work that began in the laundry before breakfast, and continued through the day, as the women scrubbed floors and commodes. Mary worked until dinnertime on the day she gave birth to her baby, though she said she laid down two or three times beneath a bed during the day because of the pain.

Mary said families of the unmarried, pregnant women in the County Home also must accept responsibility for their decisions. “I blame a lot of the families that didn’t want to know and that didn’t want to see them,” she said.

“It didn’t just happen in Galway,” she said, referring to the story of the Tuam mother and baby home. “It happened all over the country.”

Read more in Thursday’s Donegal Democrat.

 

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