This section has a small selection of stories from survivors and those impacted by Ireland’s system of institutional confinement in the twentieth century. The continuing difficulties survivors have in accessing their own stories is shameful and a situation which successive Irish governments have failed to remedy.


If you have 2 minutes, watch Noelle Brown on the Late Late Show

“I’ve spent from 2002 until the end of 2019 trying to get basic information. To close my story. Because my beginning … we have a beginning, a middle and an end. The beginning of my life was taken from me, my birth was obliterated, or attempted to be obliterated, and it has taken me that long to get the full picture.”

If you have 10 minutes, watch Bryan O'Brien's 'Permanent Placement Possible'

‘Permanent Placement Possible’ is a multimedia project I completed in 2020. Constructed from video interviews, photography, audio, archival photos, and documents it explores themes of identity, loss, control and ownership of data by focussing on a legal anomaly that prohibits Irish adopted people born in Ireland from gaining access to records relating to their birth and adoption while allowing Irish people born in the United Kingdom full access to this information in most instances.”


Witness 27

“I would also like to comment on the difficulty that adopted children have in obtaining a copy of their own birth certificate. I appreciate that there is a balance to be struck between the right to privacy of birth mothers and fathers and the interests of the adopted child but in my view that is not a justification for preventing a person from seeing their own birth certificate”

The Clann Report [direct link to PDF], paragraph 3.107

Mary Harney

“The Irish government was utterly and totally responsible, whether society was involved or whether the religious orders colluded, the responsibility is on their doorstep.

“I want him to say, ‘This was our fault.’

“You’ve heard from us for the last god knows how many years now, so accept responsibility and we might accept your apology,”

Susan Lohan

“Lohan’s adopted parents, Sean and Sheila Lohan, initially discouraged her from looking for her biological parents.

‘They were concerned that they might not be nice people, but they too had been fed false narratives about my natural parents.’”

Witness 19

“After Witness 19 had spent years trying to find out the name of his natural mother and his own first name at birth, it took a number more years to find out further information about his natural mother. He was finally able to make contact with his natural family in 2014, after having spent 17 years searching for them, only to discover that his natural mother died one month before he was able to make contact with his family.

He says that: “The inadequacies of the system delayed my search for years, causing me anguish and distress as well as removing any opportunity I may have had to meet my mother before she passed away”.”

The Clann Report [direct link to PDF], paragraph 3.95


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