A photo of Margaret's mother taken in the early 1960s.Margaret Hamill

About 10 years ago, I was watching a program on Irish TV.

This program was about two maternity hospitals in Dublin: one was Hollis St., and the other was the Rotunda. It is now known that a lot of children were stolen in the 1950s and 1960s from these two hospitals and sold to rich American families.

They said that these babies were all from poor or large families from the country and would not be missed.

I believe one of them was Gerard Martin Gilligan, born August 9, 1960—my brother.

The hospital says he died soon after birth.

My family does not believe it. There are too many discrepancies connected to my brother, Gerard Martin’s, supposed death.

After the recent publicity about Irish children of that time being sold to wealthy American couples, I have become convinced that this is what really happened to my brother and that he is alive and living somewhere in America today

The most suspicious aspect of his supposed death is that he was known to be healthy when my mother last saw him, and yet, that day has been registered as the day of his death.

My mother was always led to believe that her baby had died and, as we were a poor family, the hospital took care of everything, the funeral, etc.

My mother had 15 pregnancies throughout her life: 10 children lived and she had two stillbirths and three miscarriages.

The first five children were born in our local hospital, all healthy. The 6th baby was born handicapped, but this was not discovered until six months after the birth. When she was six months old, she was sent to Temple St. children's hospital in Dublin and after tests were run, it was discovered that my mother had RH negative blood. This meant that this child should have had her blood changed before she was 3 days old and, had this been done, she would not have suffered brain damage . As a result, any future children born to my mother would need to have their blood changed and be delivered in Hollis St. hospital, where there were better maternity facilities.

My mother’s next four births all took place in Hollis St. Hospital and all babies had their blood changed after birth, remaining in the hospital even after my mother was discharged. One of these babies was born weighing just 2 lbs, had every drop of blood changed and still came home healthy.

When my mother gave birth to Gerard Martin in 1960, he had his blood changed after birth, as usual, and was healthy just like his siblings. It was because these babies were born prematurely that the hospital kept them until full-term and not for any other reason. As Gerard Martin was delivered at 34 weeks, he would be kept in the hospital up to the 38 weeks. 

Margaret believes her healthy baby brother could not be dead as the hospital said.

Margaret believes her healthy baby brother could not be dead as the hospital said.

My mother was in the hospital for 7-8 days after delivery, as was usual at that time, and when she was discharged, she was told to return to collect her baby in 3 weeks time (just like she did for her two babies before him). When she left him, he was a healthy baby and now, it seems, he had died on the day she was discharged. My mother wasn’t informed of his death until the day the hospital issued a so-called death certificate, with no Christian name on it, saying that he died of hepatic failure

If George Martin was born on August 9 and died, as they say, on August 17, that would leave him 8 days old and not 9 days old as it says on the death certificate.

I have myself contacted the hospital on a few occasions and was told that there were no records kept before 1968, apart from the delivery records, but they could tell me that my mother was admitted on July 29, 1960 and that she gave birth on August 9 with the baby weighing 4lbs 3 oz at 34 weeks. My question is, how did they know when my mother was admitted if there were no records kept?

I asked if George Martin had any illness when he was born, but they refused to answer this question.

I asked where he was buried, if he died, and they told me that he was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery. It is too easy, however, to erect a plaque telling all these parents where their children are buried.

If the hospital was capable of selling babies, they were capable of faking death certificates, also, as was found in a recent HSE report of the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home, in Co. Cork.

My poor mother went to her grave thinking that her baby had died and, as she often said, she didn’t know where he was buried. She grieved for that poor child every day of her life.

Maybe someone out there who was born on August 9, 1960 – or may know of someone who was born on that date – in Hollis St. Hospital in Dublin, could read this and check their birth certificate, as no doubt they would be given a new name.

I truly believe that Gerard Martin is out there somewhere in the United States. His family would love to find him.

Margaret Hamill lives and runs an Irish pub in London