From top: Tuam; Fianna Fáil TD and spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte; yesterday’s Sunday Business Post

From the party that gave you the indemnity deal

Journalist Michael Brennan, in yestersay’s Sunday Business Post reported that Fianna Fáil had called on the Minister for Children Katherine Zappone to stop her plans to excavate the site of the former Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co Galway.

Mr Brennan reported:

Fianna Fáil children’s spokeswoman Anne Rabbitte said the estimated €13 million cost of excavating the Tuam site could not be justified when the money could be spent helping the children of today.

“There has to be a dose of reality and realism in all of this. Children living in hubs feel like they are prisoners. We will go down in history as the politicians that failed the children of the 21st century,” she said.

…“It’ll never be finished in her lifetime because no cabinet will approve a carte blanche cheque for an excavation if we don’t know where it will end. It’s a wilful waste of public money that could be spent on the children of today,” she said.

Rabbitte questioned if Zappone wanted to dig up every ‘cillín’ in the country (cilliní are traditional burial grounds for children who were stillborn or died before being baptised). She said that a better solution would be to agree a way of reverently remembering the children through commemorative plaques or gardens of remembrance.

Good times.


Yesterday, outside the office of Terry Prone’s Communications Clinic…

FF wants €13m Tuam cash diverted to homeless children (Sunday Business Post)

Previously: Death In Tuam

Reputable History

Our Worst Fears


This morning.

On Galway Bay FM show Galway Talks With Keith Finnegan, Ms Rabbitte and historian Catherine Corless spoke about the matter.

Ms Corless asked Ms Rabbitte directly to explain her “bare turn around on her views on Tuam” as the TD previously said she was supporting excavation.

Ms Corless added that Ms Rabbitte had upset many survivors by saying excavating the site at Tuam would be a waste of money.

Ms Rabbitte told the show:

“I suppose where Anne Rabbitte is coming from, and what I’d like to say Catherine is, I’m looking for a timeframe, you can’t blame me for that.

This can’t go on forever and interim report after interim report. It’s not fair on the survivors, it’s not fair on the good work that you and all your people have done.”

Mr Finnegan asked Ms Rabbitte:

“But did you use the words, money was squandered in the Tuam mother and baby situation?”

Ms Rabbitte said:

“A paper never refused ink and that is not what I said. I never, it would not come out of my mouth.” 

Ms Corless asked if Ms Rabbitte was misquoted, to which Ms Rabbitte said:

I never said there was money squandered on the Tuam… and baby home. What I’m saying is we need to have accountability…”

Listen back in full here

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56 thoughts on “Stop Digging

  1. eoin

    The email Terry Prone sent to the French documentary maker, Saskia Weber in 2014, after Catherine Corless had published her work and the story was gaining traction in Irish media and political circles. Saskia Weber was making a documentary for the French 3 TV channel and was seeking information from the nuns.

    “From, Terry Prone
    Bon Secours

    Your letter was sent on to me by the Provincial of the Irish Bon Secours congregation with instructions that I should help you. I’m not sure how I can. 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.The overwhelming majority of the surviving Sisters of Bon Secours in Ireland are over eighty. The handful (literally) still in active ministry are in their seventies. None of them is an historian or sociologist or theologian and so wouldn’t have the competence to be good on your programme.
    If you’d like me to point you at a few reputable historians who might be good, I’ll certainly do that.

    Terry Prone (Ms)
    The Communications Clinic”

  2. phil

    The Marriage and repeal the 8th referendum have been very useful in one way , I just spent 10min looking back on statements from archived newspapers , I am now satisfied that if I want to get any more opinions from the Catholic church I don’t need to see what Anne Rabbitte is saying , I can go directly to the Iona institute ….

  3. Dr.Fart MD

    imagine having such an absolute lack of heart to wilfully brush aside and play down children burial sites. we really do produce some of the most horrific people. easy to see how the nuns got away with it, if even in 2019 there’s people in power willing to cast it aside, you can imagine the support those eveil penguins had back when it happened. disgusting.

    1. Cian

      So you disagree with Anne Rabbitte and want to spend €13m on excavating a grave (of dead children) – rather than spending that €13m on children that are alive and in need today?

        1. Cian

          We can. But that costs €26m.
          For €13m we can do one, or the other.

          We need to decide where to spend money, and how to get best value for money. Some people see the value in digging up the remains, others see it in helping today’s children.

          I’m glad that I don’t have to make such a decision.

          1. Cian

            What’s the problem?
            Value for money. : used in reference to something that is well worth the money spent on it.”
            Are you saying that neither of these are worth spending money on?

            And, yes Mickey, people who have cancer aren’t special. If any of us lives long enough we will get cancer. It’s part of human-kind. Nothing special there.

            How people cope when they have cancer – now that can make them special.

          2. Nigel

            Either exhumation or child homelessness is a purely rhetorical choice, and therefore medacious. It could just as easily be either exhumation or an increase in ministerial pensions. An exhumation or a state visit. An exhumation or a cut in funding to the FAI. Value for money applies to all projects and expenditures, and is purely a matter of proper and responsible financial management of that project.

          3. Johnny Keenan

            Exactly Nigel.
            In this particular case. €1.5 million from the Taoiseach’s office that is given to Prone Communications Clinic can be given to help the Tuam Home Survivors Network in their campaign for justice.

            I’m sure Cian can think of other areas where the wasteful spending of the government and misappropriation Of public funds can be given to raise the 13.5 million that will cover the cost of excavation.

            Maybe some TD that is good with communications can give apple a call and say something like “hey lads do ye know that €13.5 BILLION ye have belonging to us, I know it’s gaining interest in other countries apart from Ireland. C’mere could he give us an advance of €15 million to do the right thing for 796 children who were thrown into a septic tank”?
            The contact in Apple will say something like, “yeah that’s a disgrace. The whole world is still watching and we think it’s pathetic that the Irish government are still trying to cover it up. Of course we will give you the €15 million advance. We would have given you the €13.5 Billion years ago but Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan insisted and even went to European court to stop Ireland from receiving back tax that was due to the Irish people. We really can’t understand how the Irish electorate keep voting these muppets in. Did you not learn from the whole Shell fiasco where your government gave up the rights to receive royalties from your natural resources. We are just a capitalist corporate company doing what comes natural to us. Which is avoiding tax wherever we go. We expected to come up against a government that regulates on behalf of the people. Not a government that actually is a corporate government. Of course we will continue to fleece you Ireland because your government has invited us to do so.
            BTW the cost of excavation for the Tuam Babies burial site is 13.5 million. You asked for €15 million advance on the money Apple owe the Irish tax payer. What is the extra €1.5 million for ?
            Shur ya know the way everything runs over budget in this backwater. We better give you €50 million so.

            Also if €700 million can be raised in one day for the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral I guarantee €13.5 million can be raised in a few hours if we put the word out.

            This ain’t going away you know.

          4. Cian

            Nigel – you’re not wrong.

            But you can extend that list to 1000s of items of expenditure. But at the end of the day someone needs to prioritise the list by making a decision on which are worth doing and which ones aren’t. Somewhere on that list you have a cut-off of the things that we will spend money on, versus things we won’t. Somewhere we need to rate these two items and decide where they rank – and if we are going to fund both, one and not the other, or neither.

          5. Johnny Keenan

            So what you’re saying Cian is that logic and moral code and just doing the right thing is completely not up for discussion.

            What about an IOU?

            Or if all 208 public representatives in Leinster House don’t declare expenses for one year, surely that would be more than €13.5 million?

            It comes down to public representatives been accountable.

            On this day we pay respect and tribute to the work and memory of journalist and human rights activist Lyra McKee .
            I think it’s fair to assume what she might would us to do.
            Considering Lyra wrote a book ‘The Lost Boys’ about young boys that ‘went missing’ during the troubles.

            It’s a similar situation where responsibility has to be accepted and accountability has to be seen to do its job.

            What is more likely to happen is the parade of platitudes and propaganda will come back to Dublin and ignore exactly what Lyra McKee and every respectable journalist on this island stands for.

            Because these scum in power and the hacks that support them won’t do the right thing does not mean that ordinary decent people shouldn’t.

            Please don’t respond as a financial clerk.

            I think this thread is about empathy not balance sheets.

            It’s about right and wrong.

      1. GiggidyGoo

        Not correct to try make one dependent on the other. They’re not related. The audacity of FFG to try make it so is outrageous.

        1. Johnny Keenan

          + 1 Giggidy.

          It’s 2 sides of the same promissory note when dealing with FFG. These both conservative Christian capitalist parties CCC’s are in bed with the Catholic Church and multinational corporations, which are essentially owned by CCC’s. The biggest political party in EU is European People’s Party EPP, which is essentially a CCC.
          They have the guns and the money and Terry Prone.
          So it’s very important to know the real enemy of the people.
          While everyone is wondering about death warmed up coming to slaughter on Game Of Trones outside your window a war is waging that people are oblivious to.
          Good and Evil..,

          It’s not about money anymore it’s about power.
          They have it, we need it.
          The future of our Republic depends on it.


      2. Ian-O

        OK. But then there are children with serious health problems that money could really help with in a worse place than homeless children?

        What about them? Should we then start to triage them up into ‘worthiness’ of the states ‘largesse’? Chronic pain trumps impending death and so on?

        Where does it stop? Personally, if we are getting into what we should and should not be spending tax payers money on, broadsheet regularly has columns where we see this waste going on all the time.

        Why cannot Miss Rabbitte go look at these issues perhaps instead of using emotive points and displaying a compassion that appear contrived? I wonder what she has had to say about her own parties part in the current property crisis?

        Not sure about you but personally I think its vital we uncover all of these issues. No matter what happens in the future, our past was particularly brutal, most especially for the poor who already had to contend with poverty, malnutrition, social inclusion, spousal, state church abuse etc.

        It might not be Auschwitz or Dachau but its still a horrific concept this happened in the 20th century in this country. Boo fupping hoo if it upsets some elderly nuns or current practicing Catholics, espcially the cultural catholics (small c) like David Quinn and Senator Mullen.

        The truth must come out. If it takes 13 million then that is what it takes.

        The alternative is to, at best, ignore history or worse, rewrite it with utter slime like Prone being allowed a hand to set the narrative.

        1. Mezcal

          No, that wasn’t my intention Ian-O, your opinion of people may be slightly warped from internet use. I get your point GiggidyGoo, Prone is a liar, rather than a lawyer … !

          1. Ian-O

            OK, maybe I jumped too quick but I would have thought it was kind of obvious that there is no equating the two so my apologies if I came off a bit strong.

    1. Nigel

      The client’s best interests may be despicable and nobody should get a pass because they’re at best amoral enough to think the professional thing is to do is to serve those interests well.

  4. Jeffrey

    What exactly cost 13 millions? This seems like an awful lot for a digging operation. Is no-one surprised by such amount?

    1. postmanpat

      700 bodies at 270 bones each works out at €68.78 a bone. Jazus!!! where’s my shovel? Ahhhh sure call it a hundred a bone , what’s that? 20 million? Are we billing the church even half? ( Rhetorical question obviously we would never bill them, nor would they pay if we did, we could recoup the cost by seizing church property but the powers that be are controlled by the church, , being a pathetic cowardly catholic country controlled by Rome for the last hundred years and all and nothing ever changes).

        1. Ian-O

          Yes, dead children dumped like refuse is a great topic for joviality.

          Any specific jokes, perhaps one about them fighting over scraps of food or maybe just dying terrified and alone while pure evil lectured them about morality?

          Grow the fupp up. You made yourself look foolish early on in the thread and think the above will lighten the mood? Speaks volumes about what you hold to be dear.

          You have my pity.

          1. postmanpat

            ♬Those bones, those bones need, digging up.. ♬Those bones, those bones need, digging up..Those bones, those bones need, digging up..cos that’s the jobs for the boys!! …Everybody…..

  5. Curated by Vanessa for Frilly Keane

    It’s this
    ….no cabinet will approve a carte blanche cheque….

    That tells me all I need ta’ know about this ‘wan

    Bank Bailouts
    Ryan Report Redress Scheme
    National Children’s Hospital

    But if anyone was to doubt this typical lazy FFer
    You only need to go back 12 months to the repeal campaign
    Love Both all the way until the night of the count
    She wasn’t long tweeting selfies of herself with the Together girls at the do

    I can work with all opinions and views and motivations

    But this empty shirt, windy, sloppy bandwagon’ eering sort just boils my weewee

    1. Papi

      Not a hope in hell. I’ve done entire bypasses with a smaller budget by far than 13 million. A month of excavation and a fully dedicated osteoarchaeologist or two would be a fraction of that. There may be legal costs that sky rocket the fees, but the excavation and analysis, no way.

          1. Ian-O

            Shush now, if Leo finds out about Harrison he will be tweeting about how he always preferred him to Chewy and how he wanted to be the Asian kid in The Temple of Doom, followed by the obligatory ‘meet a celeb’ meal for Leo and Harrison.

            If we are lucky, perhaps Mr Ford might bring him for a spin in his plane.

            If we are lucky.

          2. johnny

            -but its not a bypass now is it, why do you assume legal fees ‘sky rocket’ the estimated costs, is that based on bypasses too or a hunch-duh!

          3. johnny

            -thanks for sharing your expertise, fascinating insights as always, why do you assume comparing a mass burial site to a ‘bypass’ is appropriate,is it a class or education thing, or lack theroff.
            -spliffs are pre-rolled these days-duh

          4. Papi

            I don’t know, child, is it because I have excavated over 70 bodies, newborns included, mostly on projects like, guess it now, bypasses? So yes, it is an education thing.
            Sick burn, eh child?

            Also *thereof

          5. Johnny

            Yeah whatever grandad,but it’s not a bypass now is it,go have a breakfast roll,if they need a boring oul fella with a shovel make sure let them know your an “expert”.
            Ireland’s best kept secret huh the bodies at the bypass….
            Try have little more respect for both the survivors and the dead-your bypass analogy is tacky to say the least.

          6. Papi

            All my digs are published, you can read them if Mommy lets you, and she can help with the big words.
            Like “Archaeologist”

          7. Rob_G

            “spliffs are pre-rolled these days” – seriously, what sort of junior-vice-sub-assistant- trainee drug-user doesn’t roll their own joints…

  6. eoin

    So, is Deputy Rabbitte saying Michael Brennan at the Sunday Business Post misquoted her or not (see UPDATE in the article above). That’s a mighty calumnious allegation to make a journalist.

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