Tag Archives: Tuam Mother and Baby Home

From top: Anne Rabbitte; Katherine Zappone and Sr Marie Ryan; Ciaran Tierney

Why bother writing about the struggle for justice of those who were treated so appallingly by the Irish State?

Why not move on?

Why bother going to events organised by the families and survivors of the “Tuam Babies” when many media outlets don’t bother?

Why spend an hour or two with them on a Sunday afternoon when a news editor shrugs and proclaims, “Arragh, sure, didn’t we cover that event last year?”

(Even though they didn’t – as you can remember how few journalists there were among the small number of people who congregated in that lonely graveyard 12 months ago).

One of the most striking aspects of the scandal of the 796 ‘Tuam Babies’ is the widespread belief among survivors and family members that “official Ireland” has no interest in granting them the truth and justice they crave.

And the story of Tuam is replicated for the survivors and children of those who were incarcerated in dozens of other institutions all across the island of Ireland.

In Tuam, business people express regret that the scandal unearthed by local historian Catherine Corless has damaged the image or reputation of the town.

They have made it known to her, via third parties, that they wish she would have left well enough alone.

It’s not good for business, you see, to be the subject of scandalous headlines from San Francisco to Sydney when the economy is in “recovery” and there’s money to be made.

People whisper to Catherine on the street when they talk about “the home”, and she can sense shame, fear, or guilt in their voices when they approach her to applaud her for the research which has made headlines across the globe.

Only for her determination, the story might never have been known.

When it comes to the victims, though, the perception in some quarters is that these people are getting old now and it’s time to move on.

Forget about the fact that the mortality rate in the Tuam Home – where up to 796 babies may or may not be buried in a cesspit – was five times that of the general Irish population or that 126 of the 796 babies died within the first six months of life.

Forget about the fact that 35,000 women and girls were locked up in Mother and Baby Homes between 1904 and 1996 – hardly ancient history – and that those who are still living have never received a proper apology for how they were imprisoned for their “crimes”.

Or that some of them were asked to produce time sheets for the hours they worked in laundries where they were imprisoned and forced to work as slaves, with the collusion of the state, by cruel and judgemental nuns.

Forget about the fact that some older people still know what went on in these institutions, but are too afraid or too ashamed to come forward.

Or that a local councillor in Tuam, Cllr Donagh Killilea, has berated the current Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone TD, for daring to suggest that people with some memory of what happened should come forward with information, even at this late stage.

He’s offended by the idea that anyone in the town might still know why these bodies were discarded or disposed of in such a heartless fashion.

Forget about the fact that the Bon Secours nuns, in their infinite wisdom, hired a prominent PR person and paid her handsomely when the scandal of the “Tuam Babies” first broke in the Irish media.

“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,” wrote Terry Prone, still the Goddess in Chief of “communications” for “official Ireland”.

And still she coaches or grooms our richest and most powerful politicians in terms of how to deal with our media.

And still she hasn’t apologised to the families for the hurt she has caused.

Forget about the fact that the Bon Secours nuns run private hospitals for a handsome profit and have never dealt directly with the families of their victims.

Forget that the pain of the survivors was compounded by a Fianna Fail TD, Anne Rabbitte, when she stated that the estimated €13 million cost of excavating the site of the “Tuam Babies” home could not be justified when it could be spent on the children of today.

It’s a wilful waste of public money that could be spent on the children of today,” Deputy Rabbitte told The Sunday Business Post last weekend.

The FF spokesperson on children, who is running for the European Parliament this month, seemed to have little concept of the anger these remarks would ignite among survivors and family members who are finding it so hard to obtain the truth from “official Ireland”.

For them, the story of the “Tuam Babies” is very much alive.

Bad enough to discover only in your 70s that you had a brother or sister you never heard about, only to find it next to impossible to find out what happened to them.

Forget about the fact that Ms Rabbitte’s party, Fianna Fail, was in power for most of the lifespan of the Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries, when a harsh and judgmental Irish State asked religious orders to imprison and enslave thousands of Ireland’s most vulnerable women.

Let’s just forget that these poor women were locked up with the full knowledge of both the Irish State and their own families.

Or that the fathers of these children could get on with their lives while the mothers spent decades washing the dirty laundry of the elite of Irish society.

Peter Mulryan, Chairman of the Tuam Home Survivors’ Network, contrasts the reverence of the Bon Secours nuns for their own members, removing their bodies from the Grove private hospital before being re-interred with dignity, with how callously the bodies of up to 796 babies and children were discarded at the home.

They sold the building for €4.1 million in 2001 but, as so many survivors have discovered, religious institutions in Ireland have no interest in compensating victims and their families for the terrible times they put them through.

Mr Mulryan claims the “full horror” of what happened in Tuam has yet to be exposed.

Forget about the fact that survivors and family members, including Peter and Dublin woman Anna Corrigan, have no idea what happened to their siblings.

They still believe, rightly or wrongly, that their brothers and sisters could have been adopted (illegally) by families in the United States and cannot be persuaded otherwise until they have some proof of what happened to these children and babies.

Criminal acts were carried out to their family members and now they feel that there can be no closure to this terrible story until the full truth of what happened to the “Tuam Babies” is revealed to the world.

If the families believe that this can only be achieved through a full Inquest, isn’t it time “official Ireland” gives them the truth and the justice they have been calling out for?

Otherwise, we are compounding a terrible injustice and we are still betraying the dead children of Tuam (and their mothers and surviving family members) in the much more “enlightened” Ireland of 2019.

Compounding the injustice of Tuam (Ciaran Tierney)

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


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

Tonight.

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

Via RTÉ

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

Update:

This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaks about yesterday’s announcement by the Minister for Children Katherine Zappone that there will be an exhumation and forensic examination of the remains found at the site of the former Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co Galway.

UPDATE:

Later.

Fianna Fail TD Anne Rabbitte also asked Mr Varadkar about the necessary legislation.

They had this exchange:

Anne Rabbitte: “With the announcement yesterday about the mother and baby home with the site in Tuam, it is understood, what you said was bespoke legislation would be required. Now is that amending some of the legislation or is that drafting new legislation?”

“And do you foresee that in the first quarter of next year, fast-tracking that legislation so as it can run in tandem with, sort of, outsourcing the work that needs doing? And also have the legislation running parallel so as that the people who are at the centre of all these, because they’re ageing, so as they don’t have to wait much longer for results. Thank you.”

Leo Varadkar: “It will be new primary legislation which may of course amend some existing legislation. What we want to avoid, of course, for the reasons that the deputy says, we want to avoid a situation where nothing happens until the legislation is passed. So the things that can be done without legislation, we’ll try and do. What requires legislation will obviously have to wait.

“Unfortunately fast-tracking any legislation in the world of new politics is difficult. A lot of legislation is being held up because we don’t have a majority Government. But that is the will of the people.”

Yesterday: Exhumation But No Inquests

This afternoon.

There will be an exhumation and a forensic examination of remains at the site of the former Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, County Galway but no inquests to discover the causes of death.

Actions to be taken will include:

A phased approach to the forensic excavation and recovery of the juvenile human remains in so far as this is possible;

The use of systematic on-site ground-truthing and test excavations to effectively locate potential burials;

The forensic analysis of any recovered remains and, where possible, individualisation and identification, and arrangements for respectful reburial and memorialisation and the appropriate conservation of the site.

Statement by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD

The Tuam Babies’ Family Group said:

‘This is an exceptionally important decision and will pave the way for all the other mother and baby homes, and the lost children of Ireland.

We want all of the children found, if they are not in the grave, where are they? All of the children must be found and we would like to see a full excavation of the entire site as we believe there are many graves in the area, not just at the site we have all come to know.”

Kevin Higgins, a legal advisor to the Tuam Home Survivors’ Network, said:

“The set piece orchestrated today by Katherine Zappone announcing an excavation of the Tuam grave is possibly one of the most cynical and callous acts ever carried out by an Irish Government.

Having maintained for almost two years that Government would make the ‘final decision’ on the Tuam grave -she has repeatedly rebuffed the plain truth that Government did not have the power to make that decision.

Last evening [Monday] Leo Varadkar was asked several times by a representative of the Tuam Home Survivors’ Network – what powers Government had to make such a decision and whether they had advice from the Attorney General, that they had such power.

In response he filibusterd and failed to give a direct answer.

Today in her Statement, Minister Zappone explicity acknowledges that it will require new legilsation to allow the Government excavate the site.

For two years the Coroner for North Galway has sat on his hands and declined to convene an inquest into the deaths of 800 children who have no known burial place except a cess-pit.

Two successive Attorneys General have declined to appoint another Coroner on foot of his failure to carry out his statutory duty to convene an Inquest.

Today the Government announces its intention to introduce legislation, effectively giving it the power to by-pass the law in respect of Inquests.

The only purpose of an Inquest is to determine the cause of death.

Neither Government or the Bon Secours Order are disposed to public knowledge of how those children died.

Denied any justice in life, Government now proposes to deny them any justice in death.

What is proposed is an excavation, reburial and as a gesture an attempt at identification for the benefit of survivor families.

A ‘dignified reburial’ means giving the residents of the Dublin Road Estate in Tuam, back the full run of their playground.

There will be no blame, no liability, no accountability, no vindication for the Tuam babies.

In tandem with today’s announcement, the biggest global owners of private hospitals, the Bon Secors nuns, have offered a ‘voluntary contribution’ of €2.5 million towards the cost of excavation.

They must consider it very good value.”

Tuam Home Survivors Network

Earlier….

From top: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Galway Independent TD Catherine Connolly

This afternoon.

In the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions.

When posing a question to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar about a change in the application process for women who formerly worked in Magdalene laundries seeking compensation and Caranua, Galway Independent TD Catherine Connolly referred to the pending decision of the Government on the Tuam Mother and Baby Home site.

She said:

“I sincerely hope that your decision will be for a full excavation, a full exhumation of the site with a view to maximum information being available.”

In regards to Tuam, Mr Varadkar said:

“In relation to the Tuam Mother and Baby Home, Minister [Katherine] Zappone will make a statement about that at 3pm and I think it’s fair to say that she’s put an enormous amount of work into studying this matter over the last two years.

“The Cabinet accepted her recommendations today and I’d like to give her the opportunity to outline them in detail at 3pm when she’s able to do so.”

Related: Magdalene laundries victims fear officials want to limit compensation (Ellen Coyne, Times Ireland edition)

Earlier: ‘The Taoiseach Reflected The Need To Respond Now With Action, Rather Than Words’

Yesterday: ‘The Only Acceptable Outcome Is The Immediate Convening Of An Inquest Into The Deaths Of All The Children’

This afternoon.

At the silent #WalkWithPeter march from the Garden of Remembrance to the civic plaza on O’Connell Street opposite the GPO.

From top – Peter Mulryan (pic 1 and pic 3); Sheila O’Byrne, who spent time in the St Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home on the Navan Road in Dublin (pic 4); Matilda Kelly, aged 9 ,from Ballinasloe, Co Galway (pic 5) and the boxes carried during the procession laid out outside the GPO (above).

After the Tuam Home Survivors’ Network members and their supporters arrived at the civic plaza, a number of speakers spoke – including Kevin Higgins, who assists the network, Peter Mulryan, and Peter’s daughter Trina Mulryan.

Mr Higgins said the group doesn’t want “any more tea and biscuits” or any more “obfuscation” in relation to identifying the remains found in Tuam.

He said:

“[The Government] has set its face against a full-scale, forensic examination of all of the remains. It has set it’s face against an inquest into the cause of death of each individual child and the reason for that is simple.

“It’s not actually money. They simply do not want the truth to emerge because from those bones will emerge, from those remains, the evidence, even now, of maltreatment, neglect and, in some cases, worse.”

He said it would take a “war of attrition” for the State to carry out inquests into the death of each child buried in Tuam and he called on anyone who hasn’t supported the network’s campaign to consider doing so now.

Peter Mulryan told those present that the network will not stop campaigning until the final child’s remains are taken out of the ground at the Tuam site and identified via DNA analysis.

He finished his address to the crowd, saying: “Give them back to us. Now.”

He said:

More than six years ago, in 2012, Catherine Corless published some research on the ‘Home’ and in spring 2014, four years ago – gave details to Alison O’Reilly of the Daily Mail [Irish Mail on Sunday].

They carried the story on the front page and the world began to ask ‘how could this happen in a staunchly Catholic country at a Home run by Catholic nuns while in receipt of State funds with the oversight of the local authority.

Those of us who are survivors and families – and connected to the ‘Home’ remember where we were when that news broke. We did not know then that it would take more than four years to have the site preserved as a crime scene.

In March of 2017, it was confirmed by Minister Zappone that the tiny human remains discovered dated from the time of the ‘Home’ 1925 to 1961. In other words, the children’s remains like us, were ‘Home Babies’.

Again, we waited patiently for some 18 months for the site to be declared a crime scene – with the appropriate Department of Justice in charge of full and total excavation and recovery of the remains that may include my own sister, Marian Bridget. To date that has not happened.

The children never had a funeral. They were the lost, forgotten babies and children of Tuam until 2014.

The infant mortality rate was five times than that of the population outside. One hundred and twenty six died within the first month of life.

Death certificates were not signed by a medical practitioner but rather a domestic at the home, burials were outside the norm, custom or law. Without coffins. Without a word, a prayer or a gesture of sympathy in a land that is renowned for its funeral services where communities seek comfort in the untimely death of a young person.

Compared to other Mother and Baby Homes, the death rate of babies at the Tuam home was almost double at a time. Some died within the first moments of birth.

Among the eldest record is that of Kathleen Cloran who was nine and a half years when she died in 1932. On one day, April 30th 1926, four deaths were recorded of measles outbreak which took 25 children from age two months to eight years.

Tuam Home was a workhouse for the poor and then it became a Mother and Baby Home. After having her second child, ten years after my birth, my mother Delia, was taken to the Magdalene Laundry. She never got out alive. She too is buried in a mass grave.

Women with child outside marriage were outcasts, their children, like me, regarded as ‘the children of sin’. With no one to speak for any of us, no words of comfort for children as they lay dying, today we walk in respect and reverence to give the children and the six missing mothers, the funeral they never had.

We demand truth, we demand justice and we demand that our Government change the way they have operated.

We do not know where the fragments of remains that were taken from the chamber are now stored, those belong to our families.

It is not good enough that for 18 months we do not know where they are. It is not good enough that the Taoiseach Varadkar delays a meeting with us – and that former Taoiseach Enda Kenny despite living nearby, never visited the site.

It is not good enough that the Coroner has not replied to us and that the Attorney General continues to ignore our requests to do their job.

We thank those who walk with us today. We are united in a shared grief. We are united in one voice, all survivors of Mother and Baby Homes in Ireland, all family members attached to other groups. We walk for our siblings, for our aunt or uncle, for our cousins, for our family.

We walk for our communities. And we walk in a funeral procession to show Government that if they do not act according to the law of the land, according to human rights protocols that we will continue until the last remaining child in the ground at Tuam is taken out of there.

All 796 children are equal – they are Irish citizens. It is past time that we change the record. Our babies, our children, our families. Give them back to us. Now.

Peter’s daughter Trina said:

My name is Trina Mulryan.

My father is Peter Mulryan who, like many others here today, started the first years of his life treated worse than an animal in the Tuam Mother and Baby Home. Also like many other survivors of the home, he was then fostered out to an even worse place where he spent his childhood and teenage years.

My Grandmother is Bridget Mulryan who had her child, my father, taken from her while in the Tuam Mother and Baby Home and who was incarcerated 10 years later after becoming pregnant again.

Her second pregnancy out of wedlock was such a “crime” that she was incarcerated for the 35 remaining years of her life in a Magdalen Laundry in Galway City to work as a slave in the horrible conditions we are all too well aware of.

Bridget’s second child, my Aunt Marian Bridget, supposedly died 10 months after birth while in the Tuam Mother and Baby Home. Her death cert was signed by another incarcerated mother who was used by the nuns to sign such documents.

The death was not certified by a doctor. The nuns not wanting their signature on the documents makes it very possible the documents were falsified so that the nuns could sell the babies which is human trafficking. We know this happened elsewhere at the time.

My Aunt Marian Bridget is suspected, according to Catherine Corless’s research, to be currently lying in a sewage tank in Tuam. We do not, however, know this for sure. Because of the strong possibility she was trafficked out of the country, sold by the nuns, – she may very well be alive today.

We, as a nation, rightfully still search for Northern Ireland’s disappeared who went missing not long after the time of the last Tuam baby was dumped in the sewage tank but it has nearly been five years since the story of the Tuam Babies broke in the national and international news and the local coroner has still not sealed the site for investigation.

The Attorney General has also not assigned a different coroner to investigate the site due to the local Coroner’s failure to act. Instead the Tuam Babies “issue” was given to Katherine Zappone to deal with despite her office not having the legal powers to direct a full investigation of the site. You can probably see why the families of the Tuam Babies might see this as a delaying tactic.

My father is now 74 years old. He has been through cancer in the last few years. He wants to know what happened to his sister before he dies. There are also others here today who also need to know about their family members.

My father has been forced to go to the High Court many times and has spent thousands of euro in legal fees to try and get information from the Statutory Agency Tusla. After many journeys from Ballinasloe to the High Court over a number of years, an agreement was registered with the High Court whereby Tusla would provide the records they have on his sister before October 2017.

Tusla did not uphold their side of the agreement and gave neither records nor assistance. My father has to now go back to the grueling process of the legal system because Tusla, the Statutory Agency, lied. What way is this to treat an elderly man just trying to find out what happened to his sister? Has his life not been hard enough as it is?

We welcomed Leo Vardkar’s speech to the Pope where he spoke of the importance of actions instead of words in relation to the wrongs of the state and the church in our dark history.

Unfortunately though, my father has only had words from the State in relation to his sister.

Katherine Zappone told us in Tuam a few months ago of the legal difficulties she has to overcome to do a full forensic excavation and DNA testing of the Tuam Babies but the law is already in place to do this its just she does not have the legal power to direct it to happen.

I ask the government to take action now and direct the Attorney General (through the Minister for Justice if necessary) to appoint a coroner to investigate the site fully as such a coroner already has the legal power to investigate the site.

I understand of course maybe the government just want to delay this the same way as the Catholic Church have delayed and continues to delay using the tactic of “words” without any action but I hope this is not the case.

Earlier…

Peter Mulryan, of the Tuam Home Survivors’ Network (third right), at a march through Tuam, Co Galway during the papal visit

Today.

At 2pm.

At the Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square, Dublin 1.

Members and supporters of the Tuam Home Survivors’ Network will gather to remember the 796 children who resided in the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co Galway.

The State issued 796 death certificates for these children but burial records exist only for two, while there are also no burial records for six single mothers who are recorded as having died at the home.

The network, led by survivor Peter Mulryan, will hold a bagpiper-led funeral cortege to honour the children and mothers who were never accorded the same – and they ask that anyone who wishes to take part bring a white shoe box with them to represent a small coffin.

The network originally notified An Garda Siochana, in writing on Tuesday, that they planned to walk from the Garden of Remembrance, down to O’Connell, Street, over O’Connell Bridge, down D’Olier Street, around College Green, up Nassau Street and up Kildare Street to Leinster House.

However, a garda from Store Street Garda Station told the network on Thursday that they could not walk this route.

Instead the network was offered an alternative route which would see the group turn left up Eden Quay – at the top of O’Connell Street – down Custom House Quay before eventually going up Westland Row and ending up at Merrion Square.

However, this route adds about two miles onto the march and those taking part – many in their 70s – would find this difficult.

Kevin Higgins, who assists the network, contacted Department of Justice on Thursday and pointed out the age and infirmity of some of the survivors of the Tuam home and suggested that a short period of traffic management by An Garda Siochana would allow the survivors and their supporters to take the shorter, desired route.

Mr Higgins also pointed out to the Department of Justice that it is responsible for the coroners’ service but that neither the local coroner in Tuam, Galway, or the Attorney General has convened an inquest into the death of a single child at the Tuam home.

He also reminded the department that Dublin city centre was effectively closed down to accommodate Pope Francis in August.

Mr Higgins was told by the department, on Thursday, that the matter would be referred to the appropriate Garda Division and that the department would revert to him.

And then…

At close of business yesterday, at 5pm, Mr Higgins received an email from the Department of Justice saying it had nothing to do with the Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and he could not interfere.

As a result, the network has decided to walk from the Garden of Remembrance to the civic plaza in front of the GPO on O’Connell Street where a number of speakers will address supporters.

Funeral Cortege For The Children Of Tuam (Tuam Home Survivors Network)

Previously: Walk With Peter

Our Worst Fears

UPDATE:

Pics: Rollingnews and Tuam Home Survivors’ Network

From top: Blanket ceremony in Tuam, County Galway last Saturday; from left Ciaran Tierney, Alison O’Reilly and Anna Corrigan

Last Saturday, Journalist Ciaran Tirerney attended the Remembrance Day at the site of the mass grave at the former Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, County Galway.

From Ciaran’s recent blog entry:

Three hundred women all across the globe, including many in North America, were inspired by a Dublin artist to make a blanket of 796 hand-knitted pieces which they presented to the families and survivors of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home on Saturday.

In an emotional ceremony at the site where up to 796 babies and children are believed to have been buried in an unmarked grave,

Dublin artist Barbara O’Meara unveiled the beautiful white blanket – sewn together in four parts to depict the four provinces of Ireland – to the family members after meeting them for the first time.

The unveiling of the beautiful blanket, knitted by hand following a Facebook campaign, coincided with an inaugural Remembrance Day for the Lost Children of Ireland event at the site of the former home.

…At the ceremony, I was also delighted to meet Anna Corrigan of the Tuam Babies Family Group and author Alison O’Reilly.

Alison and Anna worked together to write ‘My Name is Bridget’, the story of Anna’s mother who had been incarcerated in the Tuam Mother and Baby Home.

Anna, who grew up in Dublin, only discovered that she had two older brothers after her mother passed away.

Her two brothers are among the 796 missing children and babies.

The book is a harrowing read, but it also really ‘humanises’ the story of the lost children and also looks at some other case histories from homes across Ireland.

Breeda Murphy of the Tuam Home Survivors Network pointed out that the infant mortality rate at the home was five times that of the population outside; and that 126 of the babies died within the first six months of life.

“Death certificates were not signed by a medical practitioner, but rather a domestic at the home, burials were outside the norm, custom or law. Without coffins. Without a word, a prayer or a gesture of sympathy in a land that is renowned for its funeral services where communities seek comfort in the untimely death of a young person,” she said.

She pointed out that 35,000 women and girls went through Ireland’s Mother and Baby Home system between 1904 to 1996.

This was a national issue, she said, as she pointed out that survivors from institutions all across Ireland had travelled to Tuam for the event.

They travelled to remember the lost children of Tuam (Ciaran Tierney)

Peter Mulryan, of the Tuam Home Survivors’ Network (third right), at a march through Tuam, Co Galway during the papal visit

Peter Mulryan, of the Tuam Home Survivors’ Network, writes:

The Children of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home still lie in a disused septic tank at the site of the former ‘home’. Of the 796 Death Certificates issued by the State, burial records are known for just two of those children.

In late 2016, a partial excavation by the Commission of Investigation, confirmed the existence of large quantities of infant remains, in 17 out of 20 chambers of a disused sewerage system. These are the mortal remains of the Children of Tuam.

Since then, neither the local Coroner or the Attorney General has exercised their powers or performed their duties to convene an Inquest into the deaths of a single child.

On Saturday 6th October, we ask the good people of Ireland to join us in a simple dignified funeral cortege to honour the Children of Tuam; children never accorded the dignity of funeral rites by Church or State.

I shall be walking to honour a sister, whom I have never known. Please join us by carrying a simple white shoe-box, bearing the name of a child of Tuam, to represent the coffins they were never granted and the six single mothers who died at the Tuam Home and also have no burial records. Give them that simple act of dignity in less than one hour of your own lifetime.

Funeral Cortege For The Children Of Tuam (Tuam Home Survivors Network)

Previously: Walk With Peter

‘A Dishonest Exercise’

Thanks Kevin

Finné.

A new documentary series on TG4 featuring tonight: Tuam Mother and Baby home survivor Peter Mulryan at 9.30pm.

Previously: Peter Mulryan on Broadsheet

Meanwhile…

A date for your diary.

Don’t forget.

Previously: A Day To Remember