Martin Sixsmith is the journalist who helped Philomena Lee on her journey to find her adopted son. That story was subsequently portrayed in the Oscar-nominated film Philomena. In the weeks and months after the film was released, Martin was contacted by other mothers who had their own stories to tell.
In Ireland's Lost Babies, he hears the moving stories of the parents and children on both sides of the Atlantic whose lives were changed forever. He discovers evidence that prospective parents were not properly vetted – sometimes with tragic consequences.
He also witnesses the struggle of mother and child in their attempts to find each other across continents before it is too late. With no one willing to help and information scarce, for some it feels that the Catholic Church is still trying to keep them apart.
The one-hour film will be broadcast on Wednesday 17 September on BBC2 at 9:30pm (repeated the following day at 11:20pm) and on Thursday 18 September on RTÉ One at 10:45pm.
Here's a short trailer of the National Archives of Ireland's senior archivist Catriona Crowe discussing with Martin the costs of transportation for the young children.