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A Thousand Philomenas

John Waite investigates allegations of forced adoptions, mass graves and high death rates at Catholic-run institutions in Northern Ireland.

The film Philomena starring Dame Judi Dench brought the scandal of Ireland's mother and baby homes to the wider world. Claims that children's bodies were dumped in a septic tank at a home in Tuam have focussed fresh scrutiny on the issue. But what about north of the border in the UK? Face the Facts looks at allegations of forced adoptions, high infant death rates, mass graves and the search for answers from Catholic-run institutions in Northern Ireland. And hears from the mothers still trying to find the children taken from them.

Producer:Paul Waters
Presenter:John Waite
Editor:Andrew Smith.

Available now

27 minutes

Last on

Sun 13 Jul 2014 21:00


If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this edition of Face the Facts, you can contact the organisations listed below.


Samaritans is available for anyone struggling to cope round the clock, every single day of the year. They provide a safe place to talk where calls are completely confidential. Get in touch by phone or email or find the details for the local branch online
Phone: 08457 90 90 90


Lifeline is the Northern Ireland crisis response helpline service for people who are experiencing distress or despair. No matter what your age or where you live in Northern Ireland, if you are or someone you know is in distress or despair, Lifeline is here to help.
Freephone: 0808 808 8000 (24 hours a day)



The Child Death Helpline is a national charity that offers support to anyone affected by the death of a child of any age, from prebirth to adult, under any circumstances, however recently or long ago.  The helpline is staffed by bereaved parent volunteers supported by a professional team.
Helpline: 0800 282 986 and Freephone for mobiles: 0808 800 6019 (every evening 7pm to 10pm; weekdays 10am to 1pm; Tuesday and Wednesday 1pm to 4pm)



The Compassionate Friends is an organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents offering support and mutual understanding to others after the loss of a child, of any age, from any cause.  They have a national helpline, with calls answered only by bereaved parents, as well as a comprehensive website.
Helpline: 0845 123 2304 (daily from 10am to 4pm and 7pm to 10pm)



Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors supports women and men who have been sexually abused as children or adults by ministers, clergy or others under the guise of the church. They support both survivors who have remained within their Christian communities and those who have left.
Phone: 08088 01 03 40 (Wednesdays 7pm-9.30pm)



The National Association for People Abused in Childhood is a charity that offers support, advice and guidance to adult survivors of any form of childhood abuse.
Phone: 0800 085 3330



NEXUS NI works across Northern Ireland to respond to the needs of survivors of sexual violence.  They offer counselling to victims of rape, sexual violence and sexual abuse. Contact your local Nexus office by phone or email to arrange counselling or to ask for more information.
Nexus NI: 028 9032 6803


  • Wed 9 Jul 2014 12:30
  • Sun 13 Jul 2014 21:00