Irene Stocks is the mother adoptive mother of Ryan Stocks and former midwife at Hotten General Hospital. She is also the mother of Josh Stocks, and had a husband who tragically died, leaving her more dependent on her son, Ryan.
Irene assisted teenage Charity Dingle (who used the name Deborah) in December 1990 when she gave birth to a baby boy. However, the baby was not breathing and they tried to revive him. Charity saw the doctors working on the baby and not willing to watch him die, fled the hospital. However, Charity didn't realise that the doctors managed to bring back her son. Irene took a liking to him and being unable to find Charity, adopted him in October 1991.
In May 2018, Charity visited Hotten General to try track down Irene to see if she knew where her baby's grave may be, in order to get evidence to get her rapist Mark Bails sent to prison. Irene lied that she wasn't the midwife and Charity might be confusing her with someone else. When Irene arrived home, she found and re-read her adoption order dating to 1991.
Irene and Ryan then moved houses following her retirement, leading Charity to believe that she had caused the sudden move. In June 2018, Irene accompanies Ryan as he meets Charity for the first time. With time, Charity earns Ryan's trust and they start rebuilding their relationship, however, Irene remains sceptical as she fears Charity is not reliable.
In July 2018, Ryan, sick of his mother's smothering behaviour and overprotectiveness, tells Charity he has decided to move out. Charity then calls Irene, concerned about Ryan's relationship with his mother, asking her to come over. Irene lashes out, claiming Charity is trying to take her son away from her, despite Charity claiming otherwise. Irene fears Ryan will leave her and never come back and tearfully concludes that since her husband's death she's needed Ryan more than Ryan has needed her. Ryan explains he needs some space although Charity reminds him he doesn't need to move out for that. Ryan and Irene sort things and Ryan agree not to move out. Irene thanks Charity for helping and the two make amends.
On New Year's Eve, Irene visits The Woolpack to celebrate Ryan's birthday party, hosted by Charity but is surprised to hear that Ryan has not yet arrived. The following day, Ryan tells Charity and Irene that he missed the party because he was helping a friend and they have the party the day after instead. Irene is not happy when Ryan reveals the friend he was helping was former-prostitute and drug addict, Dawn Taylor and even less so when the two start dating. However, she decides to back off, saying that Ryan can make up his own mind.