Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Newry’s Marian Vale adoptee calls for criminal probe

A man who was forcibly taken from his mother minutes after he was born in the former Catholic church-run mother and baby home in Newry, has called for a criminal investigation into the abuse of victims at it and other such institutions in Northern Ireland.

Eunan Duffy was taken from his mother against her will just a few moments after his birth in 1968 in the Marian Vale mother and baby home which was governed by the Good Shepherd Sisters, and put up for adoption.  Having only discovered in February last year that he was adopted, Mr Duffy immediately began searching for his birth mother, believing that she had willingly given him up.  After six months, he traced her to London and was shocked to discover the nature of his adoption and how his birth mother had never forgotten him and spent her life hoping he would get in touch.  Mother and son are now in regular contact and the experience has prompted Mr Duffy to support calls for a criminal investigation into abuse at former mother and baby institutions.

Describing the system as “the human trafficking of babies”, he said calls for an inquiry into the abuse by the campaign group Birth Mothers and Their Children for Justice NI, have been in vain and he accused politicians of “political inertia” on the matter.

“There are hundreds of people out there like me and like my birth mother.  The authorities, public servants and politicians who are ignoring our calls for justice should be ashamed of themselves,” he said.  “Too many people want what happened to be dumped in the history dustbin. Shame on them.

The 49-year-old, who now lives in Portadown, added that the forced adoptions should be treated by police as human trafficking.

“We know that people in the north were moved to the south, or to England.

“In the South many were moved to the north and in England many were moved here. It was the human trafficking of babies,” he said.

As well as a criminal investigation, the campaign group has called for a dedicated inquiry – based on a human rights framework – into what went on inside the institutions from 1921 to 1996, and believe that the religious orders should also financially compensate the victims.

Mr Duffy said he has concerns about the lack of support for adoptees in tracing their family, stating that “too many obstructions” add to the hurt and distress felt.

He has appealed to anyone across Ireland and the UK who may have been affected by one of the mother and baby homes in Northern Ireland to contact the group for support and advice, by email at or by phoning Eunan on 07718645924, Oonagh on 07927943248 or Michelle on 07513874371.