Just to remind the Government that we haven’t gone away; that the publication of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Report was not the end of the matter. That report is only the beginning. You and your friends in the Catholic hierarchy treated us with contempt when we were children, using our small bodies as your slave labour, allowing our bodies to be used for the sexual perversions of the clergy and, if those weren’t bad enough, you also used our bodies to enrich yourselves and drug companies.
Children brought up in Irish care homes may unknowingly have been used as human guinea pigs in vaccine trials with the approval of the religious Orders and the Irish Government. Vaccinations were tested on the children throughout the 1960s – with the last known case in 1973. The kids were in care homes in Dublin and Cork and claim that neither their relatives nor guardians were consulted about the trials. A woman subjected to a controversial vaccine trial as a baby without her mother’s consent broke her silence last night to reveal her traumatic decades-long fight for justice. Mari Steed (50) was effectively used as a guinea pig during the ‘four-in-one’ vaccine trials carried out on her between December 1960 and October 1961 when she was between nine and 18 months old.
When I was with the nuns we were split into four groups and, depending what group you were in, you either got an injection, or a sugar cube, or a mug of some drink poured from a tall ceramic jug, or nothing. We all had patches sewn onto our clothes [shirts, trousers, hankies] denoting which group we were in. When I ‘graduated’ to a different Industrial School we were split into just two groups. One group received generic toothpaste and the other received Colgate. Same with the injections – sugar cubes or injections.
I can’t understand how useful all this testing of products or drug trials could have been, unless similar trials were also going on outside of the Institutions – on healthy children. How accurate were the results of these trials in anyway? All of the children, myself included, were already suffering from little food, little heat, hard work and generally in a lousy condition. It beggars belief that they would use the children in Ferryhouse in these trials. They knew in 1967 that the place was not fit for the purpose – which was the care of children. In the official language Ferryhouse was described as a ‘social malaise’ – that from a secret Department of Health report of the same year. That report was compiled after the death of a child – caused by the bad conditions and overcrowding in Ferryhouse.
How anyone thought we were fit subjects for product testing is almost beyond me. I say ‘almost’ because there is a possibility that we were regarded as expendable. Surely not!
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