RTÉ TV Graphics Department model of the Mother and baby Home in Tuam with sewage tank marked


A Prime Time special by journalist Mark Coughlan on the mass grave at the former Tuam Mother and baby Home.


The bodies of babies from the Tuam institution have lain beneath the ground in what is now a suburban housing development since some time before 1961, when the Mother and Baby Home closed. They are in what has been officially termed a “substructure” in the corner of what is now a playground at the back of the estate.

A Commission of Investigation is looking into why they are buried there and what exactly is this ‘substructure’. But its deadline was recently pushed back by a further year. It is the second such extension. With no clear end in sight, Prime Time has been trying to find out what is known so far about what happened in Tuam.

Prime Time  on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.

Previously: Tuam And DNA


12 thoughts on “Septic Isle

  1. Kevin Higgins

    At last Sunday’s meeting of the Tuam Home Survivors Network I placed a bet with a survivor that a particular percentage of any filmed package will include large chunks of Mark walking round Tuam, Mark looking into the distance, Mark nodding sagely and various other visions of Mark. Will it include any reference to the legal obligation for an Inquest to establish the cause of death of even one of the 796 children of the Tuam holocaust? It is unlikely to raise the fact that the State is preparing to enact legislation to avoid the obligation to hold an Inquest. That is the ‘investigative’ norm of the State broadcaster.

    1. Eoin

      The cynicism! It’s only six years since Catherine Corless concluded her investigation which showed hundreds buried in this unmarked grave, who had died in questionable circumstances (huge mortality rates in the M&H homes compared to general population). It’s only five years since this became worldwide news. You seem to think Ireland is some sort of first-world country.

      1. bisted

        …justice delayed is justice denied…from my distance the delay seems contrived and must be unbearable…but…I’ve always been impressed by Kevin Higgins,and Catherine Corless et al and I defer to them always…

      1. Kevin Higgins

        Note to self. Must not describe the deaths of 79% + of an identifiable group or class of persons – that is so-called illegitimate children, who did not survive the first 12 months of life within the Tuam Home, as a Holocaust. That would be hyperbole. I must try and think of another word

  2. Truth in the News

    Will the programme compare how those who were members of Religious
    congregations who are buried in grounds of Tuam Catholic Cathedral are
    commemorated and the deceased children of the Tuam Home a short distance
    away…..how come at this late stage the Catholic Church in Tuam have not erected
    a suitable monument on the grounds of their Cathedral to all the Children

  3. Ads

    Surely it’s simple. Unearth the remains of the children. DNA test them. Offer the chance for any relatives to come forward and claim the bodies for burial. Rebury any unclaimed bodies respectfully while holding DNA for future claims. Investigate the cause of deaths. In case of murder or manslaughter by neglect, extract compensation from the orders that grew wealthy on the profits of the orphanage’s adoptions.

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