Belmont Flatlets, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

By the 1970s, a growing number of unmarried women were deciding to keep their their babies and provision for them was also evolving. One solution was in the form of small flats, which offered women more privacy and enabled them to become more self-sufficient. One of these schemes, known as Belmont Flatlets was opened in 1980 by the Daughters of Charity, who also ran the old St Patrick's Mother and Baby Home.

The Flatlets, around ten in number, were created in two adjoining houses on Belmont Avenue, Dublin 4, close to the Eglinton House home that replaced St Patrick's in 1985. From that date, Eglinton House was the source of some of the Flatlets' residents.

The Flatlets were not intended as long-term residences but rather more as transitional, hostel-style accommodation, typically for between six months and a year. The women lived independently but received support from social workers and public health nurses. The scheme was financially supported by the Eastern Health Board.

The Flats were supervised by a non-resident Sister. The women paid for their keep and were expected to look after their babies themselves. At that time, the mothers would have been eligible for Unmarried Mother's Allowance and may also have received assistance with rent payments.

An external review of the Flatlets in 2000 described the accommodation as 'basic but adequate for short-term accommodation'. There were some problems with laundry facilities, heating and availability of hot water. The residents received support in matters such as education in child care, budgeting, and household management, as well as emotional and social support. While mothers were responsible for the care of their children, the staff assisted and provided the women with some breaks. They also gave them help in accessing social welfare entitlements and finding accommodation to which they could move after their time in Belmont.

The Flatlets were closed in 2001.

Records

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  • None identfied at present — any information welcome.

Bibliography