Brave woman lifts lid on horrific medical experiments in Dublin Mother and Baby homes

Published date22 August 2021
Publication titleDublinLive (Ireland)
The heartbroken mum now has two grown up children, yet the all too short life of her firstborn haunts her every waking hour.

Ann, 68, was just 20 when she gave birth at a mother and baby home and when she came round, groggy from sleeping pills, the nuns said the infant had died.

It would take her more than 40 years to learn the baby's body had been handed over for medical experiments and dissected without her permission.

Ann, from Nenagh, Co Tipperary, told the Irish Sunday Mirror: "I always wonder in the back of my mind what really happened to my baby girl.

"She would have been 47 in April and I think a lot about her. I have a tattoo of angel's wing and her name 'Mary' on my shoulder.

"I called her after my youngest sister."

Ann had to enlist the help of a social worker to finally uncover the truth about her baby who was cut up

for anatomical study without her permission.

She gave birth at St Patrick's Mother and Baby Home on the Navan Road in Dublin in 1974 and only learned what had happened seven years ago.

Ann said: "We were taken off our parents when I was three and reared in a convent, there were six of us.

"My mother went off and had four more children after that, and gave them all up.

"When I was 16 I was sent up to a convent in Newry. After I left there at 19 I was homeless."

Ann went into St Patrick's in November 1973 after she was gang-raped and became pregnant.

She added: "Two of us ran away from the home, but the other girl went to Limerick.

"I was on my own, I was sleeping in the Phoenix Park, anywhere I could get my head down, in the bushes, wherever.

"I slept in a man's car one night and when he opened the door the next morning, he took me for breakfast then he let me go. I was in some dangerous situations but I didn't know any better and I had nowhere to go.

"I went with another girl who said she was to meet someone in the Phoenix Park. I was totally innocent, still a virgin. I didn't know anything about sex. She said, 'Sit down on that bench' and within 10 minutes I was surrounded.

"I said to myself I'm in trouble here. They started attacking me and took it in turns to rape me. When I found out from the hospital that I was having a baby I said, 'But how?'"

Ann had a breakdown and was sent to St Patrick's where she was so heavily medicated she "was in a trance all the time".

She remembers going into labour on April 13, 1974, but when she woke up the nuns told her the baby had died.

Ann said: "On the reports I have it says the baby went...

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