‘A Dishonest Exercise’

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From top: Minister Katherine Zappone with Pope Francis at Áras an Uachtaráin on Saturday; Historian Catherine Corless (right) joins Tuam Survivors, including  Peter Mulryan, of the Tuam Survivors’ Network (third right), at a march through Tuam, County Galway on Sunday.

Yesterday, Minister for Children Katherine Zappone released the copy of a letter she gave to Pope Francis regarding the Tuam Mother and Baby Home and her hope that the Vatican will pay for the costs for the exhumation of the mass grave.

Via the Tuam Survivors’ Network

‘The publication of a letter, by Katherine Zappone, which she handed to the Pope is nothing more than a publicity stunt.

She writes in the preamble to that letter: I am the Minister responsible for the Tuam Mother and Baby Home. This is of course an absurd statement.

Ms Zappone is merely the Minister to which the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes is to report. In a different country, such a Commission would be reporting to a Justice Minister.

What Minister Zappone has been responsible for more than two years, is a dishonest exercise in respect of the Tuam pit, which has prolonged the agony of survivors and those whose relatives may be buried there, by standing in the way of an exhumation.

In the course of her letter to the Pope, she attempts to maintain the myth that she with her Cabinet colleagues can decide the future of the mass grave at Tuam.

To be clear once more, the only office-holder with jurisdiction over the mass grave at Tuam is the local Coroner.

Where a Coroner fails to convene an Inquest, the Attorney General has under s24 of the Coroners Act 1961, the power indeed obligation, to appoint another Coroner to do so.

Neither the previous Attorney General Maire Whelan nor the current incumbent Seamus Woulfe, have fulfilled their obligations to do so.

Minister Zappone has sat in Cabinet with both and cannot be unaware of the position.

Yet in the warmest and driest summer for forty years in which an exhumation of the Tuam children could have been speedily accomplished, she has clung to a position which is both vile and dishonest.

She writes to the Pope expressing the hope that the ‘church’ should ‘contribute substantially’ to the cost of whatever option is decided by the government.

To repeat, government does not have the power to make such a decision. There is no option, other than to convene an Inquest and complete an exhumation.

Those responsible are the Bon Secours Order, not merely the largest private health provider in Ireland, but probably the world.

Can the Minister produce a single piece of correspondence between her or her office, written to the Bon Secours Order, since she became Minister, pointing out their obligations to them?

In all, her letter to the Pope smacks of a stunt, a desperate attempt by a Minister completely out of her depth, to try and regain a grain of personal and political credibility. It fails miserably.’

A statement from the Tuam Survivors’ Network

Tuam Survivors’ Network

Revealed: What Katherine Zappone said in letter to Pope Francis on Tuam scandal (Kevin Doyle, Independent.ie)

Yesterday: ‘Her Department Knew About Infant Mortality, Concerns About Illegal Adoptions And Trafficking In 2012’

16 thoughts on “‘A Dishonest Exercise’

  1. ollie

    “There is no option, other than to convene an Inquest and complete an exhumation.”
    there is a step missing from the above:
    A full investigation into cause of death, and criminal investigation if required followed by Inquest, etc.

    Zapone is a fake, and is deliberatley steering the Tuam “issue” away from the Justice/Criminal system.

  2. Ronan

    Powerful stuff.

    I have a small point though. It’s not entirely impossible that Katherine Zappone genuinely believes she is making a difference, even if she isn’t. Like Simon Harris taking credit for the referendum result – it might not even be cynical, he might actually believe he’s ‘delivered’ a result.

    I’ve worked 14 years in my industry and I see tons of deluded people who do nothing but attend meetings and accept the advice of lieutenants who have never let them down, or re-hash work they got someone else to do, and who genuinely believe they are driving things and not middle-manning a bunch of stuff. Sure they have a role to play in building relationships to get things done, but they are delivering next to nothing.

    Politicians are a bit like this. They ask questions in parliament and make noise, and they deliver letters. But ultimately they just direct the civil service via policy and requests, and stick to conversations and fluff.

    Still, the Tuam Survivors Network raise some powerful points, and it certainly looks like there’s a lot the cabinet is failing to do. Can they release their own correspondence with minister Zappone? It would be interesting to see what she has said to these points previously – the article doesn’t mention what she said when the network (presumably) contracted her prior to this.

  3. Frilly Keane

    Well that’s a mouthful
    Fair play everyone

    Let’s get this inquest called to order
    So we can stop calling it a pit
    And formally recognise it as a mass unmarked grave with bodies of innocents who deserve to be identified and memorialised with decency

    Then
    Let’s go all out, full throttle, for vengeance on their behalf from the monsters that put them there

  4. Pixie Hat

    Thought it odd she had to slip the letter to the Pope like that given she’s a government minister and Leo Varadkar could have handed it to him for her at Dublin Castle after that amazing speech, which would also have been a handy place to mention Tuam in more detail.

  5. RuilleBuille

    Zappone has to be one of the most deplorable politicians in the Dail. And she has some stiff competition there!

  6. ollie

    “There is no option, other than to convene an Inquest and complete an exhumation.”
    there is a step missing from the above:
    A full investigation into cause of death, and criminal investigation if required followed by Inquest, etc.

    Zapone is a fake, and is deliberatley steering the Tuam “issue” away from the Justice/Criminal system.

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