It seems the welfare of bull calves merits more attention from RTÉ than the removal of newborn babies from mothers by Tusla

When a representative of the Alliance of  Birth Mothers Campaigning for Justice (ABC) telephoned an RTÉ Primetime presenter some time ago in the hope of an investigation into Tusla, the response was that they had neither the time nor the resources.

ABC also met with an RTÉ presenter from a separate current affairs programme who was very anxious to highlight what’s happening to mothers and children. He met a brick wall when he attempted to present his proposal to his seniors.

Ahead of a Primetime Investigates special to be broadcast tomorrow night, Presenter, Fran McNulty writes: “For months, RTÉ Investigates has been looking into Ireland’s dairy boom…. Prime Time presenter Fran McNulty tracked what a truck load of Irish bull calves experienced on their export journey. From Cabin 679 you can clearly hear calves bawling from below deck…. For the unweaned calves it’s a long time without mother’s milk.”

It appears there’s no scarcity of resources in RTE when it comes to investigating the welfare of bull calves.

For the last 4 years ABC has been highlighting the removal of newborn babies by Tusla.

In response to a Parliamentary Question from Deputy Mattie McGrath, Tusla said the don’t keep data on the number of newborns removed.

Conveniently, Tusla masks the number of newborns removed by recording the number of children 1 year and under that they take.

Typically Tusla will inform mothers ahead of the birth that they will be getting a court order to take the baby once it’s born. This causes untold distress for the expectant mother and her unborn baby.

“Savage is the only word that can be used to describe the social workers we have met in our advocacy work supporting mothers before and after birth whose newborns are taken,” Anna Kavanagh ABC Convenor says.

In a radio interview sometime ago, Kerry Hession a Social Care Worker with Orchard Fostering explained how they get newborns from a day old to foster

Orchard Fostering is a private company used by Tusla to foster children.

One mother told ABC about her experience of returning home without her newborn baby that she had been breastfeeding in hospital and her attempts to express her milk and store her milk to give to the social worker involved.

This proved to be too much of an inconvenience for the social worker which resulted in the mother telling us that she had “a fridge full of breast milk” and no baby.

In an interview for a podcast series to be broadcast by M-Compass Media in the autumn, one mother described how she was made carry her newborn baby to a car waiting at the back door of the maternity hospital to be whisked away by the Tusla social workers who hounded and tormented her on an almost daily basis throughout the last trimester of her pregnancy. When she returned to the ward she was discharged immediately with zero aftercare or support provided.

A report by Kitty Holland in the Irish Times says:

“Suzanne (not her real name) had her son taken from her when he was four days old.

Tusla social workers had told her while she was pregnant they would be seeking an interim care order as soon as the baby was born. Asked why they wanted to take her baby she says: “Domestic violence.”

She explains she had been in a violent relationship some years previously. A child from that relationship had already been removed from her. “They said I wasn’t able to protect that child, even though I wasn’t with the dad any more.” She had also broken up with the father of the baby she was carrying. “They said they were taking this baby because I wouldn’t be emotionally available to him.”

Three days after giving birth she had to attend court for the care application. “I was sitting in the public waiting area. It was packed because there were criminal cases on too. I was pumping milk and haemorrhaging. My legal aid solicitor said the case would go well for me. But it didn’t.”

“Going back to the hospital, I was heartbroken. I was numb. It was like being in a film; like you’re not even in your own body.”

Her hospital chart was marked ‘Tusla baby’. “I was in a public ward. People were in and out talking about me. I wasn’t even allowed have my curtain closed. I had no dignity or privacy.”

“On the morning, they were reminding me: ‘You know you’re to have him washed and dressed for 2pm. They’ll be here to take him then.’ I got him ready and then I had to hand my baby over to two social workers in training. I felt like I was just an incubator for Tusla.”

She sees her son, who is now subject of a full care order, for two hours a week, at a shopping centre. “Tusla said that was enough for me to bond with him.”

She says she would be a good mother. She says she has been offered no support, and has little hope of reuniting with her children properly until they are 18. She suffers with depression, anxiety and on one occasion came close to taking her own life. “The police had to talk me down. If I didn’t have that hope that I will have a relationship with my children one day, I’d be gone by now.”

‘I felt like I was just an incubator for Tusla’

Yes indeed, it seems the welfare of bull calves merits more attention from RTÉ than the removal of newborn babies from mothers by Tusla.