Mrs Brown’s Boys star Brendan O’Carroll tells how his mum Maureen was ahead of her time in illegal adoption fight - Mrs Brown's Boys

Post Top Ad

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Mrs Brown’s Boys star Brendan O’Carroll tells how his mum Maureen was ahead of her time in illegal adoption fight

The Dublin funnyman says his late mother  - who was a Labour TD in the 1950s - always fought for what was right

 MRS Brown’s Boys star Brendan O’Carroll has spoken for the first time about his mum’s heroic battle against the illegal adoption of Irish babies.


The Dublin funnyman says the late Labour TD was ahead of her time — as the Government apologised last week after at least 126 ­newborns had their adopted parents incorrectly listed as their birth parents.

Mrs Brown’s Boys star Brendan O’Carroll is very proud of his mum


His mother Maureen was a TD in the 1950s and was alone in speaking up against the practice of sending children to the US — only to be condemned in the Dail for speaking up.

Brendan told the Irish Sun on Sunday: “During her time in the Dail and indeed in politics in ­general, my Mammy challenged so many what she termed ‘anti women and child’ laws and ­practices.

“None more vociferously than the adoption of babies issue.

“A mother of 11 children herself, she obviously understood the importance of family. I have always been proud of her uncompromising stance when it came to any mother and child issues.

Young Brendan with his mum Maureen

“Although I believe she was ahead of her time, she would be disappointed that ‘time’ took so long to catch up.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last week told the Dail there were potentially “hundreds of thousands” of further illegal adoption registration records in existence.

The Fine Gael leader described the illegal adoption registration revelations as “another dark chapter in our history”.

But Barnardos boss Fergus ­Finlay said: “It is a scandal, but it’s not a new one and shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.”

During the 1950s up to 15 per cent of all illegitimate children born in Irish mother-and-baby homes were taken to America with the State’s approval.

More than 2,000 illegitimate children left the country in this way, with most adopted by wealthy American Catholics.

Mrs Brown’s Boys creator Brendan O’Carroll


But it seems thousands more kids were taken from Ireland without any public record after being sold into a thriving network that stretched across the Atlantic.

Advertisements were even placed in the classified sections of ­newspapers offering babies “fully surrendered” and available to the right family for “no fee”.

Adoption Rights Alliance has described Ireland as a once being a “happy hunting ground” for hopeful adoptive parents” with US serviceman who took part in World War II stopping off in ­Ireland on their way home to ­collect children.

But when Maureen brought the matter to the attention of the Dail in 1956, she was lashed by then Justice Minister Liam Cosgrave for handing “yellow English Sunday newspapers” the opportunity “to smear the name of this country”.

Comedian Brendan’s mum made history in 1954, by becoming the first female TD for the Labour Party in Ireland, before going on to become the party chief whip, making her the first female whip for any Irish party.

Maureen was a Labour TD in the 1950s


But Maureen never forget the children of Ireland, campaigning on controversial topics such as illegal adoptions.


And in 1956, she told the Dail how she travelled to Bruff, in Co Limerick to investigate the cases of Anthony Barron and Mary Clancy, who were given to families in the States.

On the basis of what she found, Maureen told TDs: “I submit that not only was there something irregular about the manner of the removal of those children but something definitely illegal.

The Dublin North-Central TD claimed their removal from the State involved “serious contraventions of Section 40 of the Adoption Act, 1952”. However, after submitting questions to the then ­Justice Minister, she was told there was “nothing irregular or unlawful”.

Maureen said: “I was given the information that in the last three years 523 such children have left this country with a view to adoption in the USA — 523 is an appalling figure in view of the ­circumstances.”


Brendan O’Carroll with wife Jennifer Gibney


The campaigning politician said she had no objection to kids being adopted by US families as they would “not have to go through life in this country with the stigma they normally have to bear”.
But Maureen added: “But I do not see why it should have to be done in an illegal manner.” At the time, Fianna Fail’s Donogh O’Malley said he “deprecated” the manner in which she had chosen “to bring publicity” to a question.
He said: “What has been stated in all sincerity by Deputy Mrs Maureen O’Carroll will be splashed across many a paper, not only in Britain but in other countries, to the detriment of this nation.”
Maureen lost her Dail seat in 1957 but continued to push to make ­Ireland a better place.
Son Brendan said: “Ireland at the time was in the Middle Ages and it was actually legal for a husband to beat his wife with a stick, so long as the stick wasn’t longer than his forearm.
“When she retired from politics she had a few bob and we were convinced we were in the lolly.
“But she bought a couple of houses and turned them into homes for battered wives and homeless children in which we all volunteered.”
Previously Brendan told how his mum, who passed away in 1984, pushed him to succeed in life.
He said: “She was a powerhouse of a woman, a woman for change.





Post Bottom Ad