PSNI appeal for Mother and Baby / Magdalene Laundry / Workhouse Institution victims now in the Republic of Ireland to come forward

  • 16 May 2022



The Police Service of Northern Ireland launched an investigation into allegations of physical and sexual abuse involving Mother and Baby Institutions, Work Houses and Magdalene Laundries on 6th October 2021.

Since then, officers in the dedicated Investigation Team have received 52 allegations of potential criminal activity.

Three of the reports received to date are from mothers who were brought to Institutions in Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland. Seven reports have also been received of babies who were born in Northern Ireland, then moved across the border and sometimes further afield to be adopted.

The investigation is however, not limited to Mother and Baby Institutions, dedicated Detectives are also looking into reports of potential criminality that occurred in Work Houses and Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland during 1922 to 1990.

Detectives working on this ongoing investigation are pleased that people are having the confidence after all these years to come forward. However, they believe there are still people out there who are suffering in silence as a result of experiencing or witnessing potential criminality.

Working in partnership with An Garda Síochána, the Police Service of Northern Ireland are appealing to anyone currently residing in the Republic of Ireland, who may have suffered in these Northern Irish institutions or witnessed anything they thought was suspicious at the time to come forward and report.

All those who come forward will be spoken to by a specialist detective from the Historic Child Abuse Unit within the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Public Protection Branch and will be offered the opportunity to have their account recorded so that a criminal investigation can take place.

Detective Superintendent Gary Reid, who is the operational lead for this Police Service of Northern Ireland investigation said: "We don’t want anyone to feel they have to suffer in silence anymore and we will continue to do all we can to reach as many people with this message as possible.

“We know there are people currently residing in the Republic of Ireland that haven’t yet come forward to us. We want to reassure them that this investigation is still very much live and ongoing and that we want to hear from them too.

“If you were the victim of abuse in any of these Northern Irish institutions, or know somebody who was, or if you witnessed potential criminal activity take place, please contact us.

"We care about what you have to say, will listen and support you, and will act to keep you and others safe."

An adoptee from Marian Vale Mother and Baby Institution said: “My birth mother was a resident at Marian Vale in Newry, Northern Ireland in 1968, while she was pregnant with me. My adoption by an American couple was arranged there, they had family in the Republic of Ireland.

“In the weeks following my birth, three contradictory birth certificates were issued for me presumably to facilitate my transport from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland and ultimately to the America. I feel that I was transported like a commodity - a practice I find reprehensible. I urge anyone else with such evidence to come forward and report to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.”

A dedicated reporting system is in place to make it easier for people who suffered to come forward.

If you are a resident of the Republic of Ireland and wish to contact the dedicated Mother and Baby Institutions, Work Houses and Magdalene Laundries Investigative Team, you can do so via the following options:


Direct line (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm): 0 44 28 9090 1728

Officers will deal with any matters reported in a sensitive manner and will, where possible, progress matters through investigation.