Kathy worked tirelessly on behalf of mothers and children

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A WOMAN who worked tirelessly to advocate for women who had been in mother and baby homes and whose children had been adopted, died suddenly in Geneva on May 14, reports Aideen O’Flaherty.

Kathy McMahon, who was formerly of Springfield, Tallaght, and Ballyfermot, founded Irish Mothers First, an advocacy group to campaign for full access for mothers and adoptees to records of institutions, in 2014.


Ms McMahon was twice a resident of a mother and baby home, where as an 18-year-old she gave birth to her first child, who was adopted against her wishes, and then she was put into another mother and baby home when she became pregnant at 20, but this time she was able to keep her child.

In the years after, she eventually got to reconnect with her daughter who had been put up for adoption.

Ms McMahon was in Geneva visiting one of her daughters when she collapsed after complaining of feeling unwell, and suddenly passed away.

Strong-minded woman

Tallaght man Tony Kelly, who was born in a mother and baby home and set up the United Survivors Group, told The Echo: “Kathy was a determined, strong-minded woman.

“She worked tirelessly on behalf of all mothers who suffered in mother and baby homes and institutions, and their lost and stolen children.

“And Kathy’s hard work did not go unnoticed, and that fact was evidenced by the large crowd that packed into St Anne’s Church in Bohernabreena to hear the many tributes paid to her.

“Kathy McMahon was most certainly a champion for the cause of all mothers and their children.

“On behalf of the United Survivors Group, I would like to send my sincere sympathies to Kathy’s partner Fintan Dunne and the McMahon families. May she Rest in Peace.”

Ms McMahon is survived by her children Geraldine, Allan and Natalie and her partner Fintan Dunne, and was predeceased by her son Justin. Ms McMahon was buried in Bohernabreena Cemetery.

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