At the site of the former Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam; Minister for Children Katherine Zappone; Sr Marie Ryan, of the Bon Secours in Ireland
Right to Know journalist Ken Foxe published a “strictly private and confidential” letter sent from the leader of the Bon Secours in Ireland Sr Marie Ryan to the Minister of Children Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone last August.
The letter concerned the Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co Galway, where the State issued 796 death certificates for children but burial records only for two.
The home closed in 1961.
The letter to the minister was written in response to Ms Zappone asking to meet with members of the order so they could discuss the Tuam home and how the order could share, with the State, the “cost implications” of the current investigations at the home after “significant quantities of human remains” were confirmed to have been found at the home two years ago.
Sr Ryan, on behalf of the nuns, told Ms Zappone they were surprised she asked to meet with them while the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes is ongoing.
The nun then went on to firmly state that the Tuam home was operated on behalf of the Irish Government.
Sr Ryan wrote:
“This was an institution created and operated by the Irish state.”
“Given the passage of time, it certainly appears to us, that the Home was not only under the stewardship of the Sisters at that time but under the supervision, direction and inspection of the local authority Galway County Council and also the Department of Health.”
She also said after the home closed in 1961, the nuns sent “all documentation” and “official Home Records” to Galway County Council and that the nuns haven’t had “full and open access” to these records which are now with the commission.
She said it seems Galway County Council were involved in paying for a doctor and a chaplain at the home and that Department of Health inspectors inspected the home.
Sr Ryan added:
“The deaths of the infants were registered at that time and it would seem to us that it would follow that Galway County Council, the Department of Health and the doctor employed by the local authority for the Home would have been fully aware of the fact of these deaths and no doubt then would have been aware that burial arrangements would have to be made for the remains.”
Mr Foxe tweeted the following on the correspondence:
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