RTE Liveline programme leads to Arnotts and Brown Thomas pulling product from Irish stores

A product sold by Brown Thomas and Arnotts has been pulled from Irish stores after complaints on RTE’s Liveline radio show.

The Darci Baby dolls, also known as ‘adoption’ dolls, are no longer available to purchase on either of the shops’ websites after issues were raised in recent days.

Callers to Liveline told Joe Duffy that the dolls are not in line with the experience of many Irish women who were sent to mother and baby homes and who had their children adopted.

One woman, Mairead Kelly, contacted the programme on Friday about the dolls.

“I don’t think it represents the [adopted] babies who suffered horrifically in this country and are still traumatised by this,” she said.

‘This toy doesn’t represent the adopted child experience. The little baby doll that is for sale in Arnotts and Brown Thomas is tucked up nice and warm.

FAO Schwartz's Darci Baby doll.
FAO Schwartz’s Darci Baby doll.

“That is not the way it was for people in institutions and have suffered so much.

“‘Even now they are suffering. It is an insult to the people who were reared in Magdalene laundries, who suffered and are still suffering.”

FAO Schwartz, who manufacture the products, marketed them by saying “kids can adopt their very own bundle of joy with FAO Schwarz’s Baby Doll Adoption Centre” and that “each doll comes swaddled in a soft blanket”.

In response to the complaints, Brown Thomas and Arnotts said: “FAO Schwartz is a world renowned toy store that has and continues to provide millions of children of all ages with wonderful experiences that fuel their imagination.

“Brown Thomas Arnotts entirely agree that the experience of adoption has been varied in Ireland, and we take on board the views expressed in the programme.

“To that end, we will today stop selling the FAO adoption dolls in all Brown Thomas and Arnotts stores.”

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