Minister O’Gorman announces joint research project with NUI Galway into Language, Terminology and Representations in institutions known as ‘Mother and Baby Homes’

Posted: 17 May, 2021

  • NUI Galway to lead research project on ‘Language, Terminology and Representations’ in Mother and Baby Homes


  • Project will implement one of the recommendations made by the Collaborative Forum on Mother and Baby Homes subcommittee on ‘Terminology, Identity, and Representation’


The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability,  Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), Roderic O’Gorman T.D., has today announced a joint research project into “Language, Terminology and Representations” in institutions known as ‘Mother and Baby Homes’ with researchers in NUI Galway.

The project was recommended by the Mother and Baby Homes Collaborative Forum. A funding call was then initiated by the Department under the Irish Research Council COALESCE Research Fund in 2019, for which researchers from NUI Galway were successful.

The project will examine language, terminology, and representation of those directly affected by the Mother and Baby Homes and related institutions in twentieth century Ireland, as addressed by the recent Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation.

In responding to the Final Report of the Commission of Investigation, the Government approved the development of a Strategic Action Plan encompassing a suite of measures. 

In announcing the award, the Minister stated: “This study is a direct response to recommendations made in the first report of the Collaborative Forum of Former Residents of Mother and Baby Homes and related institutions and has also formed part of the Government’s response to the Final Report from the Commission of Investigation. The aim of the project is to highlight the stigmatising and labelling language that has been used in the past and to provide guidance for stakeholders as to how to address this issue into the future.”

Minister O’Gorman added:: “There is a particular challenge in Ireland to find ways to adequately address failings in the past. While this is an important project alone it is a part of the Government’s wider action plan in response to the Commission’s report. This collaboration should help to inform responses by my department and related agencies in the future that avoids further victimisation and labelling. It may chart a path for an explicit social and historical justice approach that can be applied to this, and related areas of concern.”

The research team led by Professor Caroline McGregor from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley from the Tuam Oral History Project at NUI Galway, will hold four public consultations. The Steering Committee will include four members of the Mother and Baby Homes Collaborative Forum – Rosemary Adaser, Bernie Harold, Alice McEvoy and Adrian McKenna.

Professor McGregor and Dr Buckley from NUI Galway have stated: “The approach to the project will be informed by the views of survivors. It will be collaborative and will take its lead from those directly affected by the issues. We are looking forward to working with the project group to produce recommendations and a glossary of terms that acknowledge the lived experiences of those who have spent time in the relevant institutions and drawing from international evidence.”

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