Grave Pronouncements

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Historian Diarmuid Ferriter

“We have to be careful about scapegoating, we have to be careful about rushing to pronouncements and definitive declarations of what happened, you know, and this erroneous assertion that 800 bodies were dumped in a septic tank. That is not true.

And yet there is this rush when these scandals break. There’s a rush to judgement and sometimes rush to scapegoat. None of these institutions were one dimensional…we need to be aware of context.

Diarmaid Ferriter to Dutch journalist Arjen van der Horst, June 27 2014.

Claire Byrne: “In 2014, you said that the assumption or the claims that were 800 childreen dumped in a septic tank in Tuam were erroneous. Do you still hold that view?”

Diarmaid Ferriter: “I don’t know.”

Claire Byrne Live, March 6, 2017.

“Problematic headlines went around the world in 2014 declaring definitively that 800 bodies had been ‘dumped’ in a septic tank in Tuam. There were premature, simplistic and speculative assertions and Corless pointed out in June 2014: “I never said to anyone that 800 bodies were dumped in a septic tank.’

All the more reason why uncovering exactly what is there should have begun at that stage. This would also have allowed those most closely affected by this to come to terms with the truth.”

Diarmuid FerriterIrish Times, July 28, 2018

Good times.

Keep digging.

Diarmaid Ferriter: Truth of what lies beneath Tuam home must be uncovered (Irish Times)

Previously: Revisionism

17 thoughts on “Grave Pronouncements

  1. rotide

    His statements are entirely consistant.

    There still doesn’t seem to be any definitive information one way or the other. There were recorded deaths and presumably an indeterminate amount of unrecorded deaths and those bodies were interred in a mass grave which may or may not have been a septic tank at one time. This was widely known about locally until recently when more people found out about the ‘800 bodies dumped in a septic tank’ from a researcher who didn’t actually say that.

    1. Cian

      Agreed, except where you say “presumably an indeterminate amount of unrecorded deaths”
      There is no evidence for this.

      If the nuns were okay with reporting 30+% mortality rates – and deaths due to malnutrition – do you think they would have left some deaths out? For all the bad things you can say about them (and there are a lot of bad things) they seem to have been good at the “reporting deaths to the authorities”. Saying that, I wonder how many children were trafficked to the US after been reported as ‘dead’?

      1. scottser

        The nuns had a vested interest in not reporting or delaying reports of deaths BECAUSE THEY STOPPED GETTING PAID for children in their ‘care’.
        Jesus H Christ, are ye not fupn listening?

  2. Kdoc

    Is someone’s nose out of joint because it’s an amateur historian presenting the Tuam case?

    1. Bodger

      If you’d like me to point you at a few reputable historians…I’ll certainly do that.”

      Terry Prone letter on behalf of Bon Secours nuns

  3. Kevin Higgins

    When Professor Ferriter is a little more certain about what his own view actually is, on the hard evidence in respect of the mass grave at Tuam, I will be happy to hear what that view is. In the meantime….I wouldn’t want to …. rush to judgement

  4. Robert

    Sans context, each of these statements is perfectly okay, and I don’t believe inconsistent. He’s absolutely right about curbing the mob mentality. Don’t forget it was the Daily Mail that broke this in the first place. That there did in fact turn out to be veracity to the allegations is neither here nor there.

    I think the issue is more with the Irish Times editorial line which very definitely does appear to promote a very pro-establishment slant. But for those who know just what the Irish Times is this shouldn’t be too surprising. The conflict arises because we consider it to be the “newspaper of record” which it certainly shouldn’t be.

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