St. Patrick’s Guild (Incorporated) was a charity founded in the early 20th century to assist Catholic unwed mothers and their children. It was incorporated as a limited company in 1926. Our Congregation was asked to become involved in relation to St Patrick’s Guild in the 1940s and took over the running of the adoption society until the adoption services ceased in the 1990s. St Patrick’s Guild is now in liquidation and gave all its files and records to Tusla in 2016.
During its operation, many of our sisters worked in St Patrick’s Guild and dedicated their lives to supporting women who came to seek adoption services in secret. It was a different and difficult time in Irish history, where women who were pregnant out of wedlock were often isolated and abandoned, and they and their children excluded from society. The alternatives for these women were very limited, and St Patrick’s Guild clearly played a role in what happened over many decades. We deeply regret the hurt and harm caused and hope that a full review will give the answers that are clearly needed.
We recognise the hurt and emotional distress that those who were adopted are experiencing and we do want to help in any way we can. We believe that a full and comprehensive Government inquiry into adoption practices in the State since 1922 would at least help to find answers posed by those adopted during those times. We will fully cooperate and support any inquiry or commission of investigation that the Government would establish and urge for this to be done without delay. An independent review into the matters concerning incorrect birth registrations and adoption services would, we believe, bring truth and transparency to how adoption services worked, what happened and establish the truth about all the parties involved.