Mari Steed: “You have a right to know your identity”.

During the Spirit of Mother Jones 2021 Festival programme, we will show a recorded interview with Adoption Rights campaigner Mari Steed conducted by John Barimo of the Cork Mother Jones Committee on Saturday 27th November at 6.30 pm on Cork Community Television. (

Mari Steed was born in the Bessborough Mothers and Babies Home in Cork in 1960 and was just two years old when she was adopted from Ireland by a family from Philadelphia. Years later, her search for her birth mother Josie led to the Magdalene Laundries’ story where her birth mother was confined as a young girl. 

Mari Steed.

She describes her reunion with her mother and how she visited her each year in the UK. During her difficult search for information about her family, Mari also discovered that she had also been included in a vaccine trial in the early 1960s at Bessborough.

Bessboro Mother and Babies Home.

Her growing activism led to her becoming one of the founder members of Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) in 2003 which was mainly responsible for the successful campaign to obtain a State apology for the survivors. Today she is the US coordinator for the Adoption Rights Alliance and is challenging the recent Commission of Investigation into the Mothers and Babies Homes Report. 

She remains disappointed that the survivors of the Mothers and Babies Homes are still not being believed by the State nor have they received “restorative justice” even to the extent of the failure to provide all survivors with basic needs such as advanced medical cards. A full State apology is awaited.  Mari wants the State to enshrine the real story of the tens of thousands of women who were placed in the Magdalene Laundries and the Mother and Babies Homes in the 20th century by its permanent inclusion in the school curricula. 

Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2021.

Cork Community Television, Saturday 27th November, 6.30pm.