In June of this year, Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) and Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) launched Clann: Ireland’s Unmarried Mothers and their Children: Gathering the Data (Clann), which is a joint initiative with global law firm, Hogan Lovells.
We would be very grateful if you could pass the following information on to anyone who you believe may benefit from Clann’s assistance.
The purpose of Clann is to help establish the truth of what happened to unmarried mothers and their children in 20th century Ireland and thus to help ensure that investigation and reparation measures are as comprehensive and effective as possible. Clann is assisting individuals affected by or involved with the treatment of unmarried mothers and their children to provide evidence to the ongoing Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters.
Free witness statement-drafting assistance is available through Clann to anyone, living anywhere in the world, who has experience of Ireland’s treatment of unmarried mothers and their children (including adult adopted people). The assistance is NOT limited to the list of 18 institutions initially being investigated by the Commission. Where witnesses are invited to meet the Commission’s Investigation Committee in person, Clann will also endeavour to obtain free legal representation for those individuals if they wish.
Witnesses may choose to share their statements with Clann (this is entirely optional). Clann will anonymise shared statements and use extracts from them, alongside archival material, to make a public group report to the Commission of Investigation, the Irish Government, and international human rights bodies. The witness statement gathering process forms part of a larger project to create a permanent archive of the experiences of Ireland’s unmarried mothers and their children via the Clann website. The Clann website will act as a resource for individuals affected by the issues and will be available to the wider public for ongoing education and research.
If witnesses have already given evidence to the Commission, they are still welcome to participate in the Clann project. Additional details may come to mind during the interview with Hogan Lovells and in this instance the witness may wish to send the statement into the Commission, to add to the evidence they have already submitted. They may also find it helpful to have a written statement for safe-keeping or future use, even if they have already been to the Commission of Investigation. In addition, if the witness consents to their statement being used by ARA and JFMR, their information could greatly assist the ARA and JFMR group submissions.
A zip file of the Clann Information Pack can be downloaded from this link: http://clannproject.org/wp-content/uploads/Clann-Information-Pack.zip Please feel free to circulate it in your network of contacts. The Information Pack contains the following:
- Clann Information Form (also available at: http://clannproject.org/wp-content/uploads/Clann-Information-Form.pdf)
- Clann Flyer (also available at http://clannproject.org/wp-content/uploads/Clann-Flyer.pdf)
- Clann Guide to the Commission of Investigation (also available at: http://clannproject.org/wp-content/uploads/Guide-to-the-Commission-of-Investigation_V1_June-2016.pdf)
- Clann Ethical Protocols (One Page Version) (also available at: http://clannproject.org/wp-content/uploads/Clann-Ethical-Protocols_One-Page.pdf)
- Clann Consent Form (also available at: http://clannproject.org/wp-content/uploads/Clann-Consent-Form.pdf)
We have also produced a number of short films, the first of which explains Clann’s purpose and how to participate in the project. There are two further films, with natural mother Philomena Lee and her daughter Jane, and with JFMR/ARA committee member, Mari Steed, who was sent to the US for adoption. We would appreciate if you could also share these films with anyone who would like to learn more about the project:
About the Project & How to Participate: https://youtu.be/YSHaL2i4aMw
Philomena Lee and Jane Libberton: https://youtu.be/gUZRJC6ePDM
Mari Steed: https://youtu.be/hVkHQclGK14
The project is operating under strict Ethical Protocols, which you can view at this link: http://clannproject.org/wp-content/uploads/Clann-Ethical-Protocols.pdf).
We have sought financial assistance towards the costs of producing hard copies of the Clann Information Packs. These Information Packs will be targeted at the most vulnerable stakeholders and those who do not have internet access. Furthermore, Clann hopes to hold eight nationwide and one London-based Clann Information Sessions, the first of which was held on 25th June 2016 in Roscrea. We will publicise the details when further information sessions are taking place.