Death In Tuam


The former Mother and baby Home in Tuam, County Galway; Map showing full extent of burial ground by Galway County Council in 1970

The publication this morning of a report into burial arrangements at Mother and baby homes was compiled by a commission of investigation formed after historian Catherine Corless’ revelations at the site of the former Mother and baby Home in Tuam (above).

Concerning Tuam, the commission writes:

Two structures were discovered. The location of the first structure discovered corresponds with the location of what is described as the “Sewage Tank” on the older Ordnance Survey and title maps.

This structure had at some point been deliberately filled with a large deposit of stones, almost to the upper edges…

The second structure discovered proved to be of greater significance. It is a long structure built within the boundaries of the old sewage tank.

It is divided into 20 chambers. Initially, a structure with two lids was discovered. One of the lids was completely intact and the other was partly broken.

These lids were carefully removed and were found to have covered a chamber with a small division between two sections of the chamber.

Human skeletal remains were immediately visible. Further excavations revealed more lids and, when they were removed, more human skeletal remains were found in the chambers underneath.

Samples of the remains were retrieved from within the chambers using customised telescopic equipment from the surface openings.

The Commission did not consider physically entering the individual chambers because the size of the surface access points was very confined, there was a danger that any attempt at physical entry would have compromised the many skeletal remains and entry was, in any event, not considered to be safe.

An archaeologist on the team appointed by the Commission considers that the logical intended use of the first structure discovered (described in the reports as “cesspool” or “sewage tank”) was to receive sewage from the culverts and pipes found coming from the direction of the former Home.

…Without a full excavation it is not possible to conclusively say what was the exact engineering purpose of the structures but the Commission considers that it is very likely that it was sewerage related. This view is corroborated by some of the scientific testing carried out at the request of the Commission and described below.

‘The Commission has established that a total of 973 children from the Children’s Home died either in Glenamaddy [nearby workhouse] in the Tuam Home itself or in a hospital or institution soon after they were transferred there from Tuam.

Of these, 79 children died in Glenamaddy. The Glenamaddy workhouse had its own burial ground so it is likely that the children who died there are buried in that burial ground. However, there is no burial register available for the period in question so this cannot be verified.

The vast majority, 802, died in the Tuam Home itself.

This number includes a significant number of “legitimate” children who are within the Commission’s Terms of Reference because they were not accompanied by a parent and a small number of “legitimate” children who are outside the Commission’s Terms of Reference because they were accompanied by a parent. (The children who were accompanied by a parent are less likely to be buried in the Tuam burial ground and are more likely to have been buried by their parents.)

The details of the deaths of the children were established by the Commission from the records compiled in the Home and from a list provided by the General Register Office (GRO) and already in the public domain.

There are six children whose deaths are recorded in the records compiled within the Home and who are not on the GRO list. The Commission has been unable to find any mention in the Tuam Home records of six children who are included in the GRO list.

When analysing the records, the Commission noted that a significant number of children who were resident in the Tuam Children’s Home were transferred to the Central Hospital, Galway when they became seriously ill.

The Commission checked the Register of Deaths and found that 86 children who had been transferred there died soon after the transfer.

Six other children died soon after leaving the Tuam Home: two children died in the County Home, Castlebar; one died in Crumlin Children’s Hospital; one in St Bridgid’s Industrial School for Girls, Loughrea; one in Clifden District Hospital and one died at home.

The old Galway workhouse became the Galway Central Hospital in the period 1922 – 1924. It was subsequently rebuilt and renamed the Regional Hospital. It is now the Galway University Hospital.

The Commission has found burial records for 50 of the children who died in the Central Hospital, Galway – they are recorded as being buried in Bohermore Cemetery.

Twelve mothers who were resident in the Tuam Home died, the majority from complications of childbirth; some died in the Home itself and some in the Central Hospital, Galway. It is not known who took responsibility for the burial of these mothers.

If the Central Hospital took responsibility for the burials it would be expected that they would be recorded in Bohermore cemetery but the Commission did not find any record of these burials there.’

More as we get it.

Earlier: Mother And Baby And Burials

55 thoughts on “Death In Tuam

  1. Kevin Higgins

    Just for the record. This 96 page Report compiled with significant time, money and resources, tells me virtually nothing beyond what I was already able to establish on my own time and dollar more than two years ago and contains less than I already know and excludes things which I must assume on balance the Commission and State agencies have to know. It is another block in ‘managing’ the Tuam Holocaust and other obscenities

    1. eoin

      Why wasn’t Catherine Corless on this Commission??????

      Just look at them, the three members of the Commission, the gormless expressions on them doesn’t inspire confidence.

      And they’ve only cost us €8.4m (BARGAIN!!!!!) so far, according to a reply to a parliamentary question last month.

      “Since it’s establishment expenditure of approximately €8.4m has been incurred (to end March 2019) to support salaries, fees and other operational costs relating to the work of the independent Commission and its engagement with former residents and other witnesses.

      Year Commission Expenditure
      2019 €0.55m
      2018 €2.25m
      2017 €2.1m
      2016 €2m
      2015 €1.5m
      In addition, my Department has also directly incurred costs of approximately €1.9m to end March 2019 in supporting this work and responding to its interim reports. “

        1. Boj

          ….sigh…and what about the rest of the post Cian…
          This tactic of yours is really boring now…

          1. Cian

            Right. So it is my fault that eoin starts a post berating the appearance of the commission (and happily includes a link).

            As for the rest of his post – its money related. eoin regularly berates the government for doing nothing. here he berates the government for doing something. It’s almost as if he will berate the government regardless of what they do (or don’t do).

          2. millie st murderlark

            He actually started the post lamenting that Catherine Corless – the woman who arguably knows most about this particular case – wasn’t included. Which is a very fair point.

            His comment about the ‘gormless’ looking people is surplus to requirements but not really the point, is it?

          3. Cian

            Q; “Why wasn’t Catherine Corless on this Commission?”

            A: she isn’t gormless-looking

            It would be difficult to say that she is independent. Doesn’t a commission need to be wholly independent?

          4. Boj

            Calling them gormless and posting a link is not your fault at all Cian, and I never suggested such. My point, again, is that, seemingly, your tactic is to latch onto a small part of a more substantial post containing other valid points in an attempt to either discount or mock the ENTIRE post. It’s a trend I see a lot with you in particular. In my view, eoin ‘berates’ the gov when they do something WRONG…regardless of which way the money is flowing.

  2. eoin

    “Let me explain.When the “O My God – mass grave in West of Ireland” broke in an English-owned paper (the Mail) it surprised the hell out of everybody, not least the Sisters of Bon Secours in Ireland, none of whom had ever worked in Tuam and most of whom had never heard of it.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?”Several international TV stations have aborted their plans to make documentaries, because essentially all that can be said is “Ireland in the first half of the twentieth century was a moralistic, inward-looking, anti-feminist country of exagerrated religiousity.”Which most of us knew already.”

    Terry Prone (Ms) email to documentary maker in 2014

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        I hope every wee she takes burns like fire and she has constant indigestion that no amount of gaviscon will soothe.

  3. Stan

    Even if we accept your premise – that abortion = murder (which obviously I don’t) – how does it follow that we should ignore the events in Tuam and elsewhere? Your logic would suggest that we shouldn’t investigate lesser crimes because of the existence of worse ones.

    1. Riz

      Stan, who is that comment aimed at? Eoin was quoting Terry Prone and no-one has mentioned abortion – the word has not appeared on this page except in your comment. I’m genuinely trying to understand your comment.

        1. Brother Barnabas

          Are you referring to free thinkers who cling rigidly to a thousand years of catholic church orthodoxy? those free thinkers?

          1. Sental

            I’m referring to people who can tell the difference between truth and propaganda.

            Bullsheeters prefers the virtue signalling propaganda.

            Bullsheeters will allow any lie / half-truth about Tuam, even allowing the description holocaust – as long as it undermines the community of catholic who live on this land.

            However, try pointing out that the Irish state is now preparing the ground for a future holocaust by building the infrastructure here to allow the abortion of unborn children.

            Your comment will be memory-holed.

            What ever the nuns did pales to insignificance compared to consequences of the state’s ready-to-go abortion machine.

          2. millie st murderlark

            I genuinely think you need to seek help for the monumental delusions you’re labouring under.

            Holocaust indeed. That’s a big word you’re bandying about there.

          3. rotide

            Although I don’t agree with much of what the poster is saying, the word Holocaust has been used multiple times in comments about Tuam.

            people also regularly call it Murder and a cover up, ignoring the fact that the deaths were all reported.

            The Tuam situation is all m awful, but the ridiculous use of words like those doesn’t help

          4. Sental

            “Holocaust indeed. That’s a big word you’re bandying about there.”

            Direct your scorn to Kevin Higgins, Ms Murder for a lark.

          5. Sental

            Quick now, virtuous editors of Bullsheet. We have a commentator making disparaging remarks alluding to another’s mental health.

            Isn’t that a violation of the snowflake code?

            Oh wait, she promotes the murderous intent of the for-profit-abortion industry.

            Stand down.

  4. theo kretschmar schuldorff

    If I am reading this correctly, the archaeologist is saying that the chambers containing the baby skeletons where fed by pipes and culverts connected to the M&B Home’s sewage infrastructure.
    So the dead babies WERE dropped into a working sewage tank.
    Those doing the ‘burial’ would have been able to smell that this was not a decent act.

    1. newsjustin

      No. I don’t think you are reading it correctly. The report seems to refer to two main chambers. One connected to pipes and since filled up with stones. The other, more complicated chamber, seems to have been used as a burial chamber.

      I agree that not much that is new seems to have been discovered.

    2. Cian

      No. There is no evidence that dead babies were dropped into a working sewage tank
      8.64 The limited excavations conducted by the Commission have not revealed the existence of a sewage delivery pipe/culvert; however, soil analysis illustrates that it is likely that the chambers were used for an unspecified duration as sewage tanks. If, after full excavation, no sewage inlet into the chambered structure is found, the likelihood is that the chambers were either never used for sanitary waste, or that waste was delivered into the chambers from the top.

      however later on it says:

      8.140 This was not a recognised burial ground or purpose built burial chamber. It did not provide for the dignified interment of human remains.

      1. theo kretschmar schuldorff

        Yes, I think you’re right. I read over the soil sample analysis report just there, and although there is evidence of sewage waste in the chambers, they seem to be suggesting it could have leaked in due to the crappy nature of the rest of the sewage system post-1937 works.
        The ‘legitimate’ people living adjacent had been complaining about the stench from the home for years.
        Living in it must have been absolute hell.

  5. Niamh

    ‘What ever the nuns did pales to insignificance compared to consequences of the state’s ready-to-go abortion machine.’

    They watched children starve to death in real time and then put their bodies in a disused septic tank to save on the cost of burials. They lied about this up until recently and made an expensive state excavation necessary.

    But yeah, people attempting to practice compassionate family planning are the villains here.

    I really think you zealots are missing the synapses that would otherwise conduct empathy. ‘What the nuns did’ was not symbolic. It was close-up, gradual, in-the-flesh homicide through strategic neglect, undertaken by real human beings in the twentieth century, behind closed doors, and followed up by burial practices so radically at odds with Catholic belief that the cognitive dissonance involved is truly chilling.

    Ireland has a lot of healing to do, and neurotic misogyny doesn’t help. You clearly don’t know the first thing about pregnancy loss and your paranoid, hyperbolic viciousness towards women is both pathological and completely self-defeating, since we’re progressing into the 21st century whether relics like you want it or not.

    1. newsjustin

      “It was close-up, gradual, in-the-flesh homicide through strategic neglect.”

      I’ve yet to see any evidence that this was the case and only plays into the notion that nuns murdered babies. Which I understand is convenient for some but not really truthful and doesn’t seek to actually get to the truth.

      The death records (that have been available now for several years) show that the vast majority of infants died from communicable diseases rife at the time. Especially so in bad, crowded, institutional settings.

      1. jusayinlike

        Your bias overwrites your objectivity Justin. It always has. Your opinion on matters such as this are almost meaningless as a result.

        1. Sental

          Now facts are biased when they don’t tell the story that libtards have invented for themselves.

          1. SOQ

            The nuns did not murder babies, they were in the main good, albeit heavily controlled, women. The men within the church waved the high hand and the soon to be be dead babies disappeared.

            Who knows, maybe they did not deserve a Christian burial because it is pretty obvious that their fathers were most certainly not followers of Christ.

            DNA all the way, imagine the surprise?

          2. newsjustin

            They did, of course, deserve a Christian funeral. Who one’s father is should make no difference whatsoever. Not sure why you’d think that.

        2. Cian

          While I would agree that newsjustin displays a bias towards the church, I don’t see how this would make this particular post invalid.

          We all have out biases (conscious or unconscious) – but that doesn’t detract from opinions. If anything, Niamh’s original post is showing an anti-nun bias that is almost completely devoid of objectivity.

      2. Daisy Chainsaw

        They shouldn’t have been bad as the nuns were getting the equivalent of €100 a week per child to look after them. That’s a lot of money going into crowded, institutional settings not spent on medical care or improved sanitary conditions.

        How many of the nuns died from malnutrition or communicable diseases in the same time as all those children?

        1. newsjustin

          You’re right Daisy. Conditions shouldn’t have been that bad. But the very nature of institutional living, even if the floors are polished and people bathe once a week is bad for spreading communicable disease. Everyone knows of family members who died in the first part of the 20th century from a communicable disease or some infection that would be easily treated today. It would have been better if such institutions had never existed.

          Nuns, like the rest of the adult population, more than occasionally died young in the early 20th century from flu, TB, etc. Perhaps more so as they often worked in hospitals or schools.

          As you know, approx a dozen of the infants at Tuam died of malnutrition. And as I’ve explained to you, this was likely to be as a result of being unable to feed rather than lack of availability of food. Grown adult nuns would not have become suddenly unable to feed themselves.

          1. Listrade

            it was £1 for the baby and £1 for the mother, not £1 in total. However, there seems to have been some differences in that it could have been £1 for the baby and £2 for the mother. The right comparison is that this was more or less the average industrial wage for the time (£3).

            Bear in mind that this was also the time of the Tenements and slums. Bear in mind that these we would assume that these slums were more crowded, more dirty, less access to medical help and yet a family. We can agree, I hope, that the slums would be worse conditions than a Mother and Baby home?

            And that those that lived in slums probably didn’t receive the aver industrial wage because it is an average. They probably received much less and it was probably casual labour (if any) and not consistent and that what ever wage they did get had to go between 8+ people living in one room? No sanitation. Poor sanitation in the streets. Disease rife and starvation.

            We can agree that on a balance of probabilities, the £1 per child the nuns got should have given better conditions that the casual wage the average inhabitant of a slum got?

            But in 1920s, the mortality rate at Tuam was 50%. That is the same as the Slums. How?

            It sounds a pitiful amount now. But it wasn’t for the time, it was more than many had for raising their children. And that doesn’t include any money gained by putting the mother to work. So even if it was disease spreading (though it also includes malnutrition) the questions is how? How can homes with a generous stipend and additional income record the same mortality rate as a slum?

          2. newsjustin

            Listrade. I think maybe, in this instance, money isn’t everything. The very fact that people were crowded together in institutional buildings (as close as in slums) provided for the spread of disease.

          3. Cian

            thanks Listrade – you’re right it was £1 each!
            Mea cupla

            Firstly, I’d guess the nuns weren’t spending all the money on the women and children. So there was less money available to feed/cloth them.

            Secondly, the diseases spread because of the overcrowding. The people living in he slums would have had personal pride and the homes would have been as clean as the people could keep them. The women would have been out cleaning their front steps every week.

          4. Listrade

            But that in itself is the problem. Objectively, the institutions had more money, better resources, better sanitation and better access to medical assistance than a slum. We demolished the slums in the 30s. The last institution closed in the 90s.

            The CICA report demonstrates cases across all institutions that housed children of neglect (no heating, no sanitation, withholding of food and medical care) and physical abuse. This was more than overcrowding.

            Money is an issue because that stipend was to assist in looking after the child welfare.

          5. Listrade

            @Cian. I’m sorry but your conclusions on the slums is BS. You can visit a mock up in Dublin quite easily and then imagine 8+ people in that single room. Pride is one thing, abject poverty is another. And then possible 14 families in one building. But sure, they scrubbed their door steps. If only John Snow thought of that when looking into cholera.

            If the nuns weren’t using the money on a child, then it was illegal. The money was FOR the child. And you ignore the other income for the running of the home from charity and the church. You ignore that they were paid a stipend for the welfare of the mother, but put all the mothers to work. For no pay. For long hours. Then there’s the little extra income on the side when they sold the child.

            I’m sure that’s comparable to the slums. Where it was mostly the men who worked. But it wasn’t permanent work. You queued up each day and hopefully got picked. So the wage (again way below that £1) wasn’t guaranteed, but it was for the nuns. Then you had rent. Then you had food. There was no charity, you couldn’t send the wife to work in the laundry. You didn’t have a local doctor on call because it was decades before the Health Act and you had to pay for a doctor.

            It should not have been in any way comparable conditions in a slum and am institution. And in fairness the comparison ended in the 30s when they demolished the slums. But the Institutions maintained their conditions (as described in detail in Volume 3 of the CICA report).

            There are no circumstances where an institution that had the backing of the state and the church to look after the welfare of children and women (even though they did not consider the children of having any status due to the manner of their conception) should be comparable to a slum. Not even the Workhouses of the previous century. And yet they were and they remained so (again all documented in CICA) past the slums being demolished and the introduction of the Health Act in the 40s.

          6. Cian

            I’m not defending the nuns. They were wrong. They took the money and didn’t spend it on the women and children. They abused the women and children and made them work for no pay. This was all terrible.

            You brought up the slums – in that they had similar child mortality rates. I’m saying that the high mortality rate was mostly due to the cramped living. If one child got TB (in either a slum or work house) this spread extremely quickly and everyone was exposed.

          7. Listrade

            @Cian, I mention the slums because they had a comparable mortality rate. However, given all the historical records surrounding conditions in the slums, we would have had a higher expectation for the conditions in an institution. Especially given the money and funding available to them.

            If they were comparable conditions and facilitated the spread of disease, then that is a criminal.It is also criminal that these conditions persisted long after improvements in social conditions.

            What I am tired of is the normalising of this high a mortality rate as it being normal for the times. It wasn’t. It was only “normal” in the slums. And even then, it was only normal for a decade of the state being independent before they acted on slum conditions. Two decades before they gave health care.

            Anyone on an income or housing outside of slum conditions did not have the same mortality rate. And it wasn’t as if this went unnoticed at the time. There are Dail records of statements made about conditions in the institutions. They were just ignored. The Child Act of the early part of the century was ignored. The Adoption Act wasn’t ignored, they just exempted the Church from compliance.

            We knew that neglect and disregard for child welfare was rife. There is no way to polish either the stipend of the conditions to be favourable or an excuse for the institutions.

          8. Cian

            I agree with most of what you are saying. It was wrong.

            However infant mortality in Ireland didn’t drop until after WWII. (Urban) Child mortality was 80/1000 from the turn of the century until late 40s (Rural mortality was lower – around 60/1000). Both started to drop in the late 1940s ending up around 30/1000 by the end of the 1950s.

            According to this paper, there is evidence to suggest that the removal of shared sanitation between 1946 and 1961accounts for 80% of the fall in the infant mortality rate in the urban counties!


  6. Curated by Vanessa for Frilly Keane

    I don’t give ah’
    About whether tis one pound or two they got
    Or Religion Faith or vocational bias
    Or anything else that extracts the opinions here

    What I care about
    And what breaks my heart
    Is those girls and their children
    The torture
    The pain
    The humiliation
    The depravation and the abuse
    The exploitation
    The despair and loneliness
    And the absolute sheer contempt these self titled charitable orders treated them
    And us now
    With their denials and lies
    And their continued corruption

    The catholic church and all its connected affiliates
    Such as these ‘orders’
    Were then, as they are today,
    Criminal units working, earning, and still accumulating vast wealth under the protection of the oldest and largest Globalist organisation the World has ever
    And will ever

    It’s no secret, by now, that I am currently working alongside the Mulryan Family
    And if I die trying, broke and disappointed
    I will not give the Bons or any of their peer sisterhoods
    Or their male counterparts
    A moment’s peace
    Until cause of death of every body found is established
    Every body is identified and buried humanly
    With their story in public view.
    Their name, their birthday and how and when they died.
    Along with their DNA for future discovery

    And we tell the World what these savages did to our families.

    And how our successive governments helped them do it.

    I don’t care what motivates any of yere views
    I care about babies in septic tanks
    I care about abused and exploited women
    I care about human trafficking
    I care about poverty, criminal neglect and coercion
    I care about fraud, corruption, and evading prosecution and penalty
    I care about the continued assistance the establishment provides to keep this history hidden
    And how the proceeds of criminal activity are kept out of reach

    Don’t pay your M50 toll and you’re guilty of a criminal offence

    Let on you’re holy
    And not only might you get away with murder, paedophilia, rape, fraud, false testimony, slave labour and human trafficking
    You might even get financial incentives

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