Stolen Lives by Bette Browne (Second Edition – 2023)

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Stolen Lives by Bette Browne (Second Edition – 2023)

Stolen Lives brings us the voices of abuse survivors who suffered within Ireland’s religious-run industrial institutions, committed by courts of the State and in many cases abandoned by their families, in one of the darkest chapters in Irish history. It breaks new ground in the chilling level of detail from survivors of the harrowing effects of the abuse on their lives as adults.

"We cannot re-write those stories, nor can we write a happy ending to them. However, it is our clear and inescapable duty to reach out, to rescue, to listen, to learn and to create something out of this catalogue of cruelty in which, we, as a nation, can take some pride." – Enda Kenny T.D. (then Leader of the Opposition and future Taoiseach), 11 June 2009, speaking during the Dáil Éireann debate on the report by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse

The report of the Commission, set up by the Irish Government in 2000 and covering mostly the period 1940 to 1999, was published on 20 May 2009. Stolen Lives, based on personal interviews with survivors over many years, appeared in 2014.

This new edition contains the survivors' original testimonies and also includes details that came to light in an investigation of what happened to women and children in mother and baby homes and in county homes in Ireland from 1922 to 1998. The report of that investigation, set up by the Irish Government in 2015, was published on 12 January 2021.

The period covered by survivors in this book thus stretches across almost 80 years of Ireland’s history. In 2019, the book was included in the National Folklore Collection and UCD Archives Library as part of an oral history project called Survivors’ Stories established in University College Dublin.

Stolen Lives by Bette Browne (2023 Edition)
Non-fiction, personal memoirs and true accounts, Irish history, industrial schools, church and state, institutional abuse
200 printed pages. Paperback.
First published in Ireland, in 2014, under the imprint of The Manuscript Publisher (ISBN: 978-0-9576729-3-2). Re-issued in a new, updated edition in 2023.
ISBN: 978-1-911442-47-9

About the Author

Bette Browne has worked as a journalist with Reuters in Europe, the United States and Asia. She now lives and works in Dublin. More about her work is available from her website at

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