Irish among deported children
Madam, – Gordon Brown has apologised for the deportation by successive governments of more than 130,000 children to other countries from the 1920s to the 1960s, stating this happened mostly without parental knowledge and consent. Such deportations constitute official kidnapping and child trafficking. Young Irish citizens were among those subjected to this practice, and this possibly represents an international diplomatic issue.
Irish governments over this timespan would have had reason to question why passports were being sought for these children (they would have been needed prior to deportation from Britain).
My first cousin was one of the Irish children deported to Australia from Britain on an Irish passport. They were told they were going on a picnic. We never got to meet her – she died still wondering if she had family back home in Ireland, as her attempts to find out had been thwarted both by the mother-and-baby home where she was born, and by a priest here, as late as the early 1980s.
Thankfully, my cousin’s adult children have persevered with the search, and some of us finally got to meet this year. It is so very sad that she had to go though life not knowing that we would have loved to have known her. We are deeply upset that she did not have a good life in the Australian orphanage, and that a chance for her to be adopted by a family who were kind to her never came to fruition. I guess her mother’s consent would have to have been sought for that.
The exportation of those children left a paper trail and questions could and should be raised. States, churches and NGOs combined to carry out the programme, but at least some of the states are beginning to apologise to and support those affected. – Yours, etc,
Glendale Park, Dublin 12.
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