From top: Catherine Corless with Ray D’Arcy yesterday;; Terry Prone, of the Communications Clinic, on the Late Late Show in October
Historian Catherine Corless was interviewed on RTE Radio One’s Ray D’Arcy Show.
During the interview, Ms Corless – who discovered there are no burial records for 796 babies and toddlers who were recorded as having died at the home – said she rejected an apology made by the chair of the Communications Clinic Terry Prone on the Late Late Show in October.
Ms Prone made the apology because of an email she wrote to French journalist Saskia Weber after the Irish Daily Mail first published a story about the possibility of a mass grave at the former Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co Galway in 2014.
In her email, Ms Prone – who was taking media queries on behalf of the Bon Secours nuns – told Ms Weber:
“If you come here, you’ll find no mass grave, no evidence that children were ever so buried, and a local police force casting their eyes to heaven and saying “Yeah, a few bones were found – but this was an area where Famine victims were buried. So?”
Ms Prone also told Ms Weber:
“If you’d like me to point you at a few reputable historians who might be good, I’ll certainly do that.”
Ms Corless’s interview on the Ray D’Arcy Show followed Minister for Children Katherine Zappone, on December 12, publishing a report from the Expert Technical Group which has been investigating the former Bon Secours mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway.
In that report, the group outlined five options for the site of the former Bon Secours mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway.
Readers should note the group’s full 232-page report also contains the line:
“The potential to identify individuals interred in Tuam is one that poses many challenges as has been identified in this report. It is an issue that has the potential to cause upset and potential damage to relations between the public, the Church and the Government.”
Ms Corless spoke about this line during her interview with Mr D’Arcy.
She also called for the number of skulls to be counted at the Tuam site to see if there are 796 skulls.
She said if there are fewer than 796, this may indicate that death certs were falsified to allow for illegal adoptions to take place – with children most likely sent to America.
From the interview…
Ray D’Arcy: “When you were in the last time with us, I think it was February 2015, I read to you the letter that Terry Prone had written on behalf of the Bon Secours nuns to a French documentary…”
Catherine Corless: “That’s right, that’s right.”
D’Arcy: “And it sort of poo-pooed the whole thing.
Corless: “Terry Prone did, she just really, she just made a mock of all the survivors and everything that I had brought out into the open. And it was very, very unprofessional of her at the time, I thought. And I just couldn’t believe it. It was very hurtful, it’s all I can say, to survivors.”
D’Arcy: “She did say, on the Late Late Show, when Ryan Tubridy put…”
Corless: “Well because she was put to the…a gun was put to her head, yeah.”
D’Arcy: “She said, ‘most shockingly, I should have contacted Catherine and said I’m really sorry. I believed, based on the evidence I had, that it was famine burials. And then, without looking to camera, but I think she was addressing you, ‘you were right and you were right to fight it through’. Has she rang you since?”
Corless: “Absolutely not, Ray. No I don’t take that as an apology at all because it was just a very curt, kind of her hands in the air again. It was almost the same, ‘so, I was wrong’. That’s the way I took it.”
D’Arcy: “Was that before or after you were on the Late Late?”
Corless: “It was after, oh it was yeah.”
D’Arcy: “Would you like her to ring you?”
Corless: “Absolutely, absolutely, just to see how she really feels about it: are they taking this seriously at all? Does she realise the impact it has on survivors, so many survivors. I think that’s the one thing Ray. Nobody’s taken, still, to this day, taken much notice of them, or listened to them. They don’t know the hurt they’re going through. And it’s impacting on their own families. And they don’t realise there’s so many of them.”
D’Arcy: “So that report from the Expert Technical Group. In it they say, because there was a lot more to it than just the five proposals as to how to treat the site. In it they say it’s ‘an issue that has the potential to cause upset and potential damage to relations between the public, the Church and the Government’.”
Corless: “That’s right, Ray. I would question, I would question the people who wrote that, what is that about? Are they telling us we can’t be going? We can’t be upsetting the Church again? Or the State? Or the Government? I would like a, I would like an explanation of that.”
D’Arcy: “I’ll have to read it again for them again, Catherine.”
Corless: “Do please.”
D’Arcy: “‘It’s anan issue that has the potential to cause upset and potential damage to relations between the public, the Church and the Government’. Now they’re not saying ‘don’t do it because..’, they’re just pointing out…”
Corless: “I know…that’s what I mean. When you read the five suggestions again. The words they’re using. ‘Disruptive’ and they’re using words that they shouldn’t use. They’re more or less, I have said, it’s bordering on propaganda, the way that, those five issues are pointed out.”
D’Arcy: “Because they’re sort of leading…”
Corless: “Leading, leading the witness, you could say. Absolutely. And of course the money is there upfront and the first column of all the suggestions and maybe €3m-€5m sounds terrible to people and I know what Galway County Council will be saying, ‘it’s taxpayers’ money, this, that and the other’, ‘we don’t need this’, ‘there’s hospitals…’, they’ll bring in all this…”
Actor Rory Cowan will be in studio to chat about his return to panto following Al Porter’s departure from Polly And The Beanstalk at the Olympia theatre in Dublin.
On the 8th December 2000, 22-year-old Kildare man Trevor Deely’s went missing after his Christmas Party. Enhanced CCTV footage and a major search earlier this year made Trevor Deely’s disappearance headline news again. Trevor’s brother Mark and sister Michelle will join Ray as part of their appeal for anyone who knew anything about Trevor to come forward.
Earlier this week international star Patrick Bergin made his first appearance on Albert Square. Patrick will talk to Ray about what it’s like starring alongside EastEnder’s Phil Mitchell and Dot Cotton. He will also treat viewers to a self-penned tune alongside his good friend Eleanor Shanley.
Former Ireland international and Limerick woman Joy Neville joins Ray to talk about winning the World Rugby Referee of the Year award in Monte-Carlo, Monaco last weekend.
The Ray D’Arcy Show, tomorrow night, at 9.55pm on RTÉ One.
Business woman and cancer survivor Majella O’Donnell and rugby analyst Brent Pope will join Ray this week to discuss mental health and talk about their experiences.
…Food writer and broadcaster Pru Leith from Great British Bake Off will be in studio to chat to Ray about filling Mary Berry’s shoes…
Some of RTÉ’s favourite weather presenters Joanna Donnelly, Gerry Murphy and Michelle Dillon will be in studio to chat to Ray about our obsession with the weather…
Stevie the Robot, which was created by a team working out of Trinity College, is a robot designed to assist the elderly and those disabled. Stevie is the first of its kind to be built in Ireland and… Ray will have the first live TV interview with Stevie in studio.
Ray will go live to the home of Republic of Ireland soccer legend Niall Quinn to get his reaction to Ireland’s crucial World Cup play-off against Denmark…
Former Irish rugby international Donncha O’Callaghan will join Ray live in studio to chat about everything from Frozen to Ireland’s Fittest Family…
Broadcaster and author Dr Pixie Mc Kenna reveals the catastrophic health concerns that can arise from not getting enough sleep…
…women’s harassment are grabbing the headlines worldwide, prompting a much-needed end to the culture of silence. In light of such recent headlines much-loved broadcaster Bibi Baskin will be joining Ray to talk about her own experiences of working as a woman in media and the many issues facing women today.
Chef Neven Maguire will get viewers taste buds tingling by cooking up some decedent truffles and he’ll also reveal what was on the menu when Leo Varadkar joined him for dinner at his restaurant in Co Cavan.
*chews imaginary telly licence*
The Ray D’Arcy Show, tomorrow night, RTE One at 10.10pm
Rosi Leonard, of Home Sweet Home and the Irish Housing Network
Sr Stanislaus Kennedy spoke to Ray D’Arcy on RTÉ Radio One.
During the interview they discussed the occupation of Apollo House.
At one point, Rosi Leonard, of the Irish Housing Network and Home Sweet Home campaign, joined the show by phone.
From their discussion:
Ray D’Arcy (to Rosi Leonard): “You’ve definitely got more coverage for the homelessness situation in Ireland, than anybody else has in a long time. What’s the end game?… Or what’s the end game?”
Rosi Leonard: “The end game, the long game, is that we end this housing crisis. And that’s beyond Apollo House, that’s the intention of Home Sweet Home, it’s the intention of the Irish Housing Network. The current game… I mean Apollo House should never have to be the answer. But Apollo House is a massive, vacant building – one of thousands – in our country. And it was a very practical intervention. It was very much an intervention to ensure dignity. And we created a standard in Apollo House that now Government are saying that they can’t do. And we’re a group of volunteers who did it in three weeks. It was more out of common sense and love and respect to the community, that we created those standards. Not any of this bureaucratic nonsense that they keep throwing back at us.”
“The short-term goal is that the people of Apollo House are housing in suitable conditions and that they see this, the Government see that they cannot disrespect and disempower people. People are empowered now, they have a voice. And we want that to continue.”
D’Arcy: “We’ve been talking to Sr Stan for the last half an hour or so and we mentioned that she’s been working with the homeless for the last, over 50 years. Sr Stan, would you like to say anything to Rosi there?”
Sr Stanislaus Kennedy: “Well, I think the aim is laudable, to end the housing crisis. Because it is a scandal. However, I think, I would prefer to see them stick, do it within the law. And I would encourage them to do that, do it within the law.”
Leonard: “But how many times has Government defied the law by letting people die on our streets? I mean that’s really what this comes down to. We talk about the law and yet, where are we prosecuting Minister Simon Coveney for not doing anything about the housing crisis that is now seeing 60 families every month living in a hotel.”
“I have met children, through the Irish Housing Network, who are six years old, being treated for depression because of the way they feel in these hotels, the way they see their lives panning out. And all I would say to that, is that we need to actually look at ourselves now as a country and say what are we willing to accept because right now it seems that we are willing to roll over.”
Kennedy: “No, I know all that. I think we’ve been on record several times talking about the situation of families, and particularly children – the 2,500 children – who are in emergency accommodation at this moment. All I’m saying is, I would prefer to work within the law. Keep at it but I think your campaign has drawn attention to it and well done on that.”
A skeletal timeline on various recent campaigns to end homelessness in Ireland…
July 1998: Sr Stanislaus Kennedy writes a letter to The Irish Times saying an unprecedented Exchequer surplus of over 1.2 billion pounds, announced a week previous, could enable the State to end homelessness. She said in 1997, 877 people under the age of 18 used the services of Focus Ireland – up from 352 in 1994.
July, 2001: A three-year plan to end homelessness in Cork is announced. The strategy is called Homelessness – An Integrated Strategy for Cork 2001-2003 and the Southern Health Board announces that 600,000 pounds will be distributed to different voluntary organisations, including Cork Simon Community, St Vincent de Paul and Good Shepherd Services. It’s reported that up 350 homeless people seek shelter in Cork city every night while up to 20 sleep rough.
2002: The official homeless figure in Ireland is recorded as being 5,581.
October 2003: It’s reported that begging and street drinking in Dublin city centre has almost been eradicated as a result of a programme in place since July – operated by Dublin City Council, gardaí and the health services.
“Parnell Square to St Stephen’s Green has been designated a ‘public domain zone’ as part of the programme. As well as 2,800 arrests in the area, including 70 for begging, there has been a programme to help people access accommodation, health services and addiction treatments.”
An Independent Dublin City Councillor, Ger Dorgan, is reported as saying the initiative was an attempt by the council to “sanitise” Dublin city in advance of Ireland hosting the European presidency in 2004.
February 2004: At the Simon (Community) National Conference in Dublin, the director of the six Simon Communities in Ireland, Conor Hickey, says Ireland is poised to “make a real breakthrough in the fight to end homelessness”.
He says if if the annual bonus on the Special Savings Incentive Accounts (SSIA) scheme was reduced from 25 per cent to 24 per cent €21million more would be available to the Exchequer and could be used to end homelessness.
May 2004: The Cork Simon Community AGM is told more than 100 people, between the age of 16 and 25, are homeless in Cork while, in total, 500 people are homeless.
The charity launches a €21million four-year action plan and pledges to raise more than €7million from its own fundraising activities to go towards the cost of the plan.
December 2005: It’s reported that the government is more than 20,000 social housing units short of its social housing target set out in the National Development Plan; and that it has yet to respond to the National Economic and Social Council recommendation that 10,000 – 12,000 social housing units should be made available between now and 2012.
June 2006: Simon Community Ireland launches its three-year strategic plan, Ending Homelessness, Creating Homes. In an article in The Irish Times, Anne Connolly, chair of the Simon Community of Ireland, writes:
“Simon estimates that the provision of high-quality accommodation in the private rented sector – with a support worker – would cost €12,000 in a year. The average cost of hospital psychiatric care is €120,000 a year. To provide the same person with supported housing in a community environment would cost €40,000.”
Ms Connolly is also reported as saying that, while Simon did not have any official data or figures, it has seen an increase in the number of individuals from Poland, Lithuania and Latvia sleeping rough.
October 2006: Focus Ireland, the Simon Communities, the Society of St Vincent de Paul and Threshold launch their Make Room campaign, calling on the Government to end homelessness by 2010.
They also call for the provision of 10,000 social and affordable housing units every year to 2010 and €2 billion being put into the National Development Plan.
January 2007: It’s reported that there are 6,000 homeless people across Ireland with 80 per cent of these people living in Dublin.
Vincent Browne, Brian Ormond, Caroline Morahan, and Eamonn and Brian Fallon, of daft.ie, lend their support for the Make Room campaign, urging members of the public to sign an online petition.
February 2007: Ahead of the general election in May, the leader of the Labour Party Pat Rabbitte says, in a pre-election speech:
“When we build houses we must also build sustainable communities. My firm commitment for change is Labour’s new ‘begin to buy’ scheme for affordable homes in good neighbourhoods.”
“We will also legislate to protect the consumer rights of home buyers, to regulate management companies and estate agents, and to control management charges. We will end homelessness and reform the planning system to better serve communities.”
May 2007: General election takes place with Fianna Fáil returning 77 seats (down 4); Fine Gael 51 (up 20); Labour 20 (no change); Green Party 6 (no change); Sinn Fein 4 (down 1) the Progressive Democrats 2 (down 6).
June 2007: A Fianna Fáil, Green Party and Progressive Democrats majority coalition government – supported by four Independent TDs – is formed.
July 2007: The charities behind the Make Room campaign call on the parties in the newly formed Government to honour their pre-election pledge to end homelessness by 2010.
October 2007: In a pre-Budget submission to the Minister for Finance Brian Cowen, the Simon Communities of Ireland calls on the Government to increase its funding for services for homeless people by 5 per cent and invest €2.5billion in new social housing units over 2008. This does not happen.
December 2007: In its annual review for 2006, the Simon Communities of Ireland said 55 people, who used Simon’s services in 2006, had died.
The average age of those who died was 42. Of the 55 who died, 25 died in Cork, four in Dundalk, eight in Galway and 18 in Dublin. The general cause of death was “ill health”.
August 2008: The Government announces a four-year strategy to end long-term homelessness, called The Way Home: A Strategy to Address Adult Homelessness in Ireland 2008-2013.
The 83-page document emphasises the use of private-rented accommodation over emergency hostel beds.
Housing Minister Michael Finneran vows that, by 2010, no homeless person will be sleeping rough or staying in emergency accommodation for more than six months.
It’s also reported:
“About 40 key services for homeless people which were due to come on stream this year have been shelved due to a funding freeze (at €33million, same as 2007) imposed by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
“Homeless agencies in Dublin and Cork say they are turning away dozens of homeless people as a result of their emergency beds being used to capacity.”
In addition, it’s reported that an implementation plan [including in regards to funding], to accompany the strategy, may not be ready “for some months’.
It’s reported that around 5,000 people in Ireland are homeless, 43,000 households are on local authority housing lists and 36,000 children live in families on social housing waiting lists.
October 2008: Simon Communities of Ireland claims that, in Dublin alone, there are 10,000 unsold private units, almost half of which have two bedrooms, and calls on the Government to buy some of these properties in order to provide accommodation for homeless people.
September 2010: It’s reported that the number of people sleeping rough and using emergency homeless services in Dublin has risen by 20 per cent over the past 18 months – from 812 people per month in 2009 to 908 per month, during the second quarter, in 2010.
December 2010: As the Government fails to reach its goal of ending long-term homeless by 2010, Kerry Anthony, of DePaul Ireland, is reported as saying:
“I’ve been saying for some time now that I don’t think we really understand the full impact the recession is going to have on homelessness.”
“The figures haven’t fluctuated much to date but we know there are an awful lot of people defaulting on their mortgage repayments, we know about 90,000 people are defaulting on electric payments and 23,000 on their gas payments.”
February 2011: General election takes place with Fine Gael taking 76 seats (up 25); Labour 37 (up 17); Fianna Fáil 20 (down 57); Sinn Fein 14 (up 10), Socialist Party 2 (up 2); People Before Profit 2 (up 2); Workers and Unemployed Action 1 (up 1); Green Party 2 (down 6). Fine Gael and Labour formed a coalition government.
February 2013: The Government sets 2016 as the target for ending long-term homelessness.
The Irish Independent reports:
“The Government has vowed to eradicate long-term homelessness by the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.
“The strategy will revolve around property leasing rather than purchases, access to NAMA housing stock and fast-tracking homeless people from emergency shelters to special transitional housing.”
“Housing Minister Jan O”Sullivan defended the new strategy and its 2016 target as achievable despite the fact the former Fianna Fail-led government failed to deliver the same target with greater resources by 2011.”
Chesney Hawkes fans are in for a big treat as the 90’s heart-throb and singer will join Ray live in studio. He will reveal how life is 25 years on from the release of his hit song “The One and Only“….Rory Cowan will drop by to talk about life with Brendan O’Carroll and family- and his new role as one of the voices of Gogglebox Ireland.
Ray will also be joined on the couch by transgender sisters Chloe and Jamie O’Herlihy from Cork. They will discuss the reality of being transgender in Ireland and will chat to Ray about growing up together, as well as their hopes and dreams for the future.
Best-selling author of the Ross O’Carroll Kelly series, Paul Howard, will fill Ray in on his latest exploits, including plans for a TV series starring his famous comic creation….
*Burns imaginary telly licence*
The Ray D’Arcy Show tomorrow night on RTÉ One at 9:55pm.
From top: Angie Bowie; Dean Strang, lead defence attorney in the documentary Making A Murderer about Steven Avery
Anne-Louise Foley writes:
In her first Irish broadcast interview since leaving the Celebrity Big Brother house earlier this week, Angie Bowie, ex-wife of rock legend David Bowie, will join Ray D’Arcy on his show this Saturday to talk about her fascinating life on and off our television screens.
And [GAA/Illuminati member] Dean Strang, one of the lead defence attorneys in the hit Netflix US documentary series Making a Murderer, will be giving Ray his unique insight into a case that has gripped audiences both in Ireland and abroad. More guests to be announced tomorrow.
The Ray D’Arcy Show is on Saturday on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.