A new book takes an empirical look at the mother and baby homes scandal and others in what the author claims to be Ireland’s greatest history scandal. A scandal founded upon false allegations, bad history and incompetent statistical interpretation. It drew its oxygen from populism, cultural biases and the prospect of compensation, and it grew into a triumph for ignorance. Babies were not starved to death by religious women, women were not banned from sitting on juries, nor were they banned from doing work ‘unsuited to their sex’ nor did the state create a ‘brutal carceral’ system to confine wayward women. The underlying causes of the mother and baby homes scandal have been allowed to fester for decades due to a breakdown in the quality control systems in academic history. The aim of the book is to apply the quality control methods which should have been in use and seek to discover the reasons for their failure.
Published in March 2021, it is the first book to be released critiquing the final report of the commission of investigation into mother and baby homes released two months earlier. The commission have done a good job in places but have made significant blunders through a lack of knowledge of statistical interpretation, they had no more than an amateur knowledge of vintage medicine, relied on non-fact checked academic historical writing and of course, presentism. That is interpreting the past through the eyes of today.
Written for a general audience, the book goes in search of the causes and finds the evidence to present to readers in order to restore some balance and common sense to Irish history.