Tag Archives: Tuam Mother and Baby Home

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


From top: Historian Catherine Corless (third right) and survivors of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home lead the vigil in Tuam, County Galway last Saturday; Ciaran Tierney

They stood together, side-by-side, in solidarity in the heart of an Irish town.

Their hearts beating loudly, but their heads held high.

These were once the marginalised, the forgotten ones, the ones who were never supposed to speak out, express their pain, or make much of their lives.

As children, they were called the ‘Home Babies’.

Or . . . the children of the ‘fallen women’.

Or . . . the illegitimate ones.

Or . . . appallingly, the bastards.

Bastards –  the disgusting word of choice of a judgmental society, which allowed the imprisonment of innocent women and children to go on for decades.

There were thousands of children like them all around Ireland, malnourished, tearful, forced to march to school in hobnailed boots; forced to arrive later than the luckier ones who were considered “legitimate” in the eyes of a Church and a State which never cared much for their welfare.

There but for the grace of a God who didn’t show much concern for them in the first few years of their lives.

They could have been adopted to America, illegally, to “good” Catholic families who were able and willing to pay the right price.

They could have been farmed out to “respectable” Irish families, some of whom were quick to remind them of their true place in this earth and their lowly station in life.

Abuse did not always end in the confines of those homes.

Or, God forbid, they might have lived just a matter of days or months, and found themselves dumped in a mass grave in a septic tank.

These were people who were never meant to make it onto our TV screens or into our newspapers, but thanks to the tireless research of a brave historian called Catherine Corless we are now getting to know their stories and their names.

They stood together in the heart of Tuam on Sunday afternoon and tears were shed as they began their silent, dignified walk through town.

People like Peter, who expressed his anguish to a small group of us in a Galway graveyard last year.

At 70 years of age, he found out about the little sister he never knew he had. He’s 74 now and only a disgusting, morally bankrupt Church or State would dare to deny him access to justice and the truth about what happened to his younger sibling.

People like Annette, whose older sister, Mary Margaret O’Connor, died as a child in the home in 1943. Annette, who lives in Manchester, England, described it as an “obscenity” that the site was not being excavated in order to provide closure and the truth to the families.

“I don’t know a country that would put 796 babies in a disused sewage tank. Those babies aren’t hidden, they are in that septic tank and they need to be given back to their families,” she said.

People like Anna, who only discovered she had two older brothers after he mother’s death in Dublin.

“The Tuam grave is a jigsaw and it needs to be put together,” she said.

How can any of us imagine the emotions Anna went through when it began to dawn on her that her brothers could have been buried in a septic tank on the site of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home?

How can any of us imagine how they and other family members feel when they see that part of the site is now a children’s playground in a Council estate in the North Galway town?

As though the authorities really went out of their way to cover up and forget the horror of what happened at that site.

How can any of us imagine what they go through every day when the Irish authorities fail to comply with their absolute conviction that there should be a complete and thorough exhumation of the site?

Can we even begin to imagine what it’s like to believe you have a close member dumped among 796 children in a mass grave in a septic tank?

If all of those family members are even there at all, because many Irish campaigners now believe that dozens of the “home babies” were adopted by families in the United States.

While Pope Francis was appearing before thousands of Irish people at a Mass in the Phoenix Park on Sunday, these amazing survivors came together in the heart of Tuam.

The hundreds who turned out to support them were moved into a sustained and dignified round of applause after their silent vigil through the town.

They read out the names of all 796 ‘Tuam Babies’, one-by-one.

Local people hung children’s toys along the route to show their support to the survivors and to remind participants of the terrible, brutal injustice which occurred at the site.

While the visit of Pope Francis was expected to cost €32 million, these families are waiting on tenterhooks to see if the Irish authorities will come up with the funding required for the full exhumation of the site.

Local people tied baby shoes, toys, and teddy bears to railings all along the route to express solidarity to the families, the survivors, and the 796 children whose names were read out at a simple, but poignant, ceremony.

Now that Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland has concluded, the Tuam Home Survivors Network have called on the Irish Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone, to convene an Inquest and complete a full exhumation of the site.

They want her to show them what correspondence, if any, she has had with the Bon Secours order who ran the infamous home from 1925 to 1961.

The Bon Secours order has refused to engage with the survivors and the families and even hired a PR person to try to ‘spin’ their role in this terrible affair.

Minister Zappone wrote a letter to Pope Francis on Monday, calling on the Vatican to contribute €2.5 million as part reparation for its role in the scandal of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home.

The families read her letter with interest, but released a statement claiming that the letter “smacks of a stunt, a desperate attempt by a Minister completely out of her depth”.

Their anger has not disappeared.

Two activists who have campaigned for justice for the ‘Tuam Babies’, Izzy Kamikaze and Sadie Cramer, cordoned off the site with tape on Sunday and declared it a crime scene.

They said they were sickened that the Irish authorities had not carried out a full investigation at the site.

Catherine Corless, Izzy, Sadie, the families, and the survivors all came together in the heart of the North Galway town this weekend and they won’t be silenced any more.

Perhaps that, more than anything, will be the legacy of Pope Francis’ 2018 visit to Ireland. The whole world has been alerted to and shocked by the crimes committed against Irish women and children and their subsequent cover-up.

The loved-ones of the 796 have found their voices and they are determined to find out the truth now, no matter what barriers they face from the Church or State authorities, or the concerns expressed about the cost involved.

Because, thanks to the overwhelming support and solidarity of ordinary Irish people, all of their shame has gone.

Their search for justice goes on.

They stood together in an Irish town (Ciaran Tierney)

Saturday: Deliver Us From Evil

Writers and artists  have called on the government for “a complete excavation, identification where possible, and dignified reburial of the victims of Tuam.”

We the undersigned writers and artists appeal to the Government to use the full force of its purse and power to undertake a complete excavation, identification where possible, and dignified reburial of the victims of Tuam.

We further appeal for the Government to undertake an active and authentic attempt to identify the many missing individuals who will have been illegally adopted at home and abroad.

In light of significant, possibly criminal, failings at Tuam – of which the lack of burial records for 796 infants and children, the missing bodies of women, the verified existence of “significant quantities” of human remains, and the ongoing testimony of survivors are ample evidence – mere memorialisation is inadequate.

Systematic exhumation is necessary to uncover the truth.

The Government must use any and all resources (including, as necessary, resources of the Bon Secours Order) to complete a full excavation and identification of all remains on the site as has been consistently requested by Catherine Corless, survivors, and family members of those who lived in the Home.

MARY O’DONNELL, DR AILBHE DARCY, KIMBERLY CAMPANELLO, AIDEEN BARRY, CARMEL BENSON, MELONY BETHALA, DR DYLAN BRENNAN,MAIRÉAD BYRNE,FIÓNA BOLGER,JUNE CALDWELL, MARY ROSE CALLAGHAN, ANNA CAREY, EILEEN CASEY, PAUL CASEY, SARAH CLANCY, JANE CLARKE, PATRICK CHAPMAN, BRÍD CONNOLLY, SUSAN CONNOLLY, JUNE CONSIDINE, BRIGID CORCORAN, MARION COX, ENDA COYLE-GREENE, CATHERINE ANN CULLEN, MADELEINE D’ARCY, MARTINA DEVLIN, MOYRA DONALDSON, THEO DORGAN, CATHERINE DUNNE, ANNE ENRIGHT, ATTRACTA FAHY, TANYA FARRELLY, ELAINE FEENEY, KIT FRYATT, MIA GALLAGHER, ANTHONY GLAVIN, SINÉAD GLEESON, SHAUNA GILLIGAN, JACKIE GORMAN, DYLAN COBURN GRAY, SARAH MARIA GRIFFIN, VONA GROARKE, MARY GUCKIAN, MAURICE HARMON, JACK HARTE, JOANNE HAYDEN, CLAIRE HENNESSY, RITA ANN HIGGINS,ELEANOR HOOKER, VICTORIA KENNEFICK,ANATOLY KUDRYAVITSKY, DAVE LORDAN, AIFRIC MAC AODHA, CATHERINE PHIL MacCARTHY, JOHN MacKENNA, NUALA MACKLIN ALICE MAHER, CHRISTODOULO MAKRIS, OANA SANZIANA MARIAN, EMER MARTIN, JOHN McAULIFFE, FELICITY McCARTAN, FLISH McCARTHY, MOLLY McCLOSKEY, MARIA McMANUS, DECLAN MEADE, PAULA MEEHAN, LIA MILLS,SINÉAD MORRISSEY, PAUL MULDOON, HELENA MULKERNS, ANNE MULHALL, SONYA MULLIGAN, CHRISTINE MURRAY, UNA NI CHEALLAIGH, ANNEMARIE NÍ CHURREÁIN, NUALA NI CHONCHUIR, DOIREANN NÍ GHRÍOFA, EILEEN NÍ SHUILLEABHÁIN, LIZ NUGENT, JEAN O’BRIEN, MARGARET O’DONNELL, JOHN O’DONOVAN, NESSA O’MAHONY, GERALDINE O’REILLY, Dr ROBYN ROWLAND AO, KARL PARKINSON, JUSTIN QUINN, CONNIE ROBERTS, ANNETTE SKADE, KELLY E. SULLIVAN, ANNE TANNAM, SUSAN TOMASELLI, JESSICA TRAYNOR, SAMANTHA WALTON, DAVID WHEATLEY, and ADAM WYETH.

Irish Times letters

Thanks the AntiRoom

Rollingnews

Meanwhile…

Historian and activist Catherine Corless at the site of the mass grave at the former Tuam Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, County Galway

Survivors and relatives of infants from the Tuam mother and babies home are planning a peaceful vigil in Co Galway to coincide with the papal Mass [on Sunday, August 26] in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.

….Ms [Catherine] Corless and members of the Tuam Babies Family Group will light candles and place a special sculpture made by Flemish women in the shape of a baptismal font at the grave site of the former Bon Secours home.

Tuam mother and baby home survivors to hold vigil during pope’s visit (Irish Times)

Rollingnews

From top: The site of the mass grave at Tuam; Peter Mulryan; Attorney General Seamus Woulfe; Mr Mulryan’s letter

A letter sent on Monday by Peter Mulryan, chairperson of the Tuam Home Survivors’ Network. to the Attorney General  Seamus Woulfe concerning the remains at the former Tuam Mother and Baby Home.

The Attorney General has the power to order a coroner to hold inquests into the deaths of any remains exhumed at the site.

Peter’s infant sister Marian Bridget Mulryan is believed to be among the 796 children recorded as having died at the Bon Secours mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway between 1925 and 1961.

Previously: Tuam: Medical Certs, Death Certs And Dr Thomas Bodkin Costello

Thanks Kevin Higgins

Historian Diarmuid Ferriter

“We have to be careful about scapegoating, we have to be careful about rushing to pronouncements and definitive declarations of what happened, you know, and this erroneous assertion that 800 bodies were dumped in a septic tank. That is not true.

And yet there is this rush when these scandals break. There’s a rush to judgement and sometimes rush to scapegoat. None of these institutions were one dimensional…we need to be aware of context.

Diarmaid Ferriter to Dutch journalist Arjen van der Horst, June 27 2014.

Claire Byrne: “In 2014, you said that the assumption or the claims that were 800 childreen dumped in a septic tank in Tuam were erroneous. Do you still hold that view?”

Diarmaid Ferriter: “I don’t know.”

Claire Byrne Live, March 6, 2017.

“Problematic headlines went around the world in 2014 declaring definitively that 800 bodies had been ‘dumped’ in a septic tank in Tuam. There were premature, simplistic and speculative assertions and Corless pointed out in June 2014: “I never said to anyone that 800 bodies were dumped in a septic tank.’

All the more reason why uncovering exactly what is there should have begun at that stage. This would also have allowed those most closely affected by this to come to terms with the truth.”

Diarmuid FerriterIrish Times, July 28, 2018

Good times.

Keep digging.

Diarmaid Ferriter: Truth of what lies beneath Tuam home must be uncovered (Irish Times)

Previously: Revisionism

From top (left to right) Site of the Bon Secours Mother and  Baby Home in Tuam, Co Galway; Peter Mulryan, Catherine Corless; Ciaran Tierney

Galway County Council is currently seeking submissions from members of the public regarding what to do with the site of the Bon Secours mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway. The deadline for submissions is this Friday, March 16.

Ciaran Tierney writes:

Imagine you are 70 years old.

Throughout your life you have dealt with the stigma of being branded as ‘illegitimate’ and your long quest to find your birth mother had ended in a Magdalene Laundry, where she had lived for over 30 years.

You used to visit her every fortnight, after managing to track her down, although the nuns warned you to pretend that she was your aunt.

They told you they would prevent you from visiting if you told the other inmates the truth about your relationship with your own mother and it used to pain you to see the defeat, the lack of sparkle, in her eyes.

Together with the other inmates, she washed and cleaned the clothes of the great and the good around the city and county.

For years, she never ventured outside the laundry walls even though she was just minutes from the heart of the city.

But you kept the relationship going, and enthused about how her spirit lifted just a little after you married and she met her first grandchild.

You saw flickers of her spirit on occasional weekend visits to the seaside, when the nuns finally started to allow her out of the laundry for a few hours.

She was buried in 1989, in a grave she shared with other women from the laundry.

You hoped that she was resting in peace after a tough life and you got on with your life.

And then, four years ago, your life was turned upside down once again.

Historian Catherine Corless, who has since become a good friend, was on the other end of the phone.

She told you the startling news that you had a little sister nobody had ever told you about.

She was one of the 796 ‘Tuam Babies’, who were making headlines all across the globe.

Catherine’s painstaking research had placed one of the little babies in the tiny townland in your mother’s rural community.

When you asked around, you discovered it was true. Your mother had given birth to a second child before being locked up again for years.

For all you knew, that little girl was buried in that infamous septic tank in Tuam.

But, that’s the thing. You didn’t know.

For all you know now, too, she was adopted by a loving family in the US or the UK, because nobody has any records of your little sis and what became of her after being born in that now notorious Mother and Baby Home.

That’s what happened to Peter Mulryan, a remarkable man whose quest for justice for his little sister goes on.

Now aged 74, he has been stonewalled by the authorities.

He’s concerned that they will mark the site with a memorial, before he ever finds out what happened to her and whether or not she ended up in that terrible place in Tuam.

On Sunday, he spoke movingly about giving a voice to the voiceless and the need to heal the hurt caused to generations of Irish women and their ‘illegitimate’ children.

A year ago, he brought a graveyard to tears when he spoke about his quest for justice, to find out the truth about the sister he never knew he had.

He returned to that graveyard on Mother’s Day, to pay tribute to his mother and all the other mothers who had been locked up in Magdalene Laundries across Ireland.

It is believed there were 10,000 of these women locked up in institutions throughout Ireland right up until the 1980s.

Many, but not all, were single mothers who were taken away from their families to hide their ‘shame’.

And now Peter Mulryan, like the other survivors, is wondering what is going to become of their loved-ones. They believe the Tuam site should be examined and the bodies of the infants exhumed.

They want DNA testing to be carried out on the little ones, but they are concerned now that the Irish authorities will cover up the site and just put in a memorial plaque on the unofficial burial ground.

Galway County Council is currently seeking submissions from members of the public regarding what to do with the site. The deadline for submissions is this Friday, March 16.

Family members like Peter are concerned that the local authority may decide to put a memorial in place at the site of the former septic tank rather than the more costly option of a thorough examination.

The council has listed five options for the site.

I’m still looking for my sister. I want her file, to see what happened to her. The council are only adding more pain and hardship to the families. I would like to ask the officials how they would feel if they had a family member in the septic tank there. That’s what I ask them when I meet them and they just go cold,” he said, following a memorial service for the women of the Magdalene Laundry in Galway on Sunday afternoon.

“Those children could not be baptised. That ground was never consecrated. The authorities won’t tell us that they are sorry or admit that they were wrong.

We never did anything wrong, but they are keeping us down by denying us justice for our loved-ones. If somebody was murdered a hundred years ago they would just go in and analyse what’s there.”

Mr Mulryan said he could not accept the argument that a full forensic examination of the Tuam site would cost too much at this stage.

Speaking beside his own mother’s shared grave, he pointed out that many of the mothers worked for free after being incarcerated in the Magdalene Laundries for decades.

“When you think of the money which was made out of these women, slaving for free in these laundries, it’s unbelievable the way they are still treating us,” he said.

Breeda Murphy of the Tuam Home Survivors’ Network said the Government should have declared the site a crime scene after Catherine Corless’ research was vindicated this time last year.

Ms Corless also faced hostility or indifference from the authorities when she researched what happened to the babies who died at the Tuam home.

“The people who have family members at the Tuam site want to bring them home and give them a proper burial. There’s nothing dignified in concealing children in a structure which was first built to contain sewage or human waste. You can never get away from that, regardless of the time period or saying that that was how things were done back then,” said Ms Murphy on Sunday.

“The way in which the Magdalene Laundry women are being treated is probably a reflection of how the Mother and Baby home survivors will be treated down the road. So I don’t see justice coming at all. I am totally disillusioned.”

A survivor of the Magdalene Laundry in Galway, Angela Fahy, said families also had to take responsibility for their role in the incarceration of women in the Magdalene Laundries.

She said there were 110 women in the Galway home when she was locked up there at just 14 years of age.

“These women were put there in secret, died there in secret, and buried there in secret,” she said.

“Their neighbours in Forster Street did not even know them. These women washed and cleaned the clothes of this entire province. Many of them never came out of there alive.

“We cannot just put this down to religion. Quite a lot of it comes down to their own families, people who denied their own flesh and blood if they had a child outside of marriage. These women had no voice for so many years, but they have now thanks to events like this.”

A year has passed since confirmation that the bodies of babies who died at the home between 1925 and 1961 were found at the site of the former Tuam Mother and Baby Home, which was run by the Bon Secours order of nuns.

Campaigners, who want the babies to be given proper burials in consecrated ground, have been inundated with messages of support from across North America over the past year.

They are insisting that cost should not be the main concern as they seek justice for the 796 ‘Tuam Babies’.

Galway County Council is facilitating a full public consultation process about what to do with the site where the ‘Tuam Babies’ were found, with submissions accepted until this Friday, March 16.

Members of the public can email TuamConsultation@galwaycoco.ie or telephone +353 (0)91 509561 if they have any queries regarding the full public consultation process.

Ciaran Tierney is a journalist, blogger, and digital storyteller, based in Galway.

For Peter and the families, it’s personal… (Ciaran Tierney)

Rollingnews

tuamCiarantierney

From top: A remembrance ceremony for the mother and babies of Tuam in Salthill, Galway on Sunday evening.; Ciaran Tierney

The Tuam Mother and Baby revelations have given survivors a new voice.

Ciaran Tierney writes:

I met an extraordinary man last night, only he doesn’t really believe he’s so extraordinary.

In recent months, he has found a voice he never realised he had. Now in his 60s, he has learned how to tell his story and speak out against injustice.

He spent much of his childhood in the Tuam Mother and Baby Home, a place which is now notorious all over the world.

It took him an awful long time to learn to love and take care of himself.

It’s not easy to care about yourself when you are told you are inferior to others.

When you walk to school in hobnail boots and you are forced to sit apart from the rest of the class.

When you are beaten for the most minor transgressions, not given enough food, and branded with labels like “home baby” and, worse, “illegitimate”, because your mother committed a terrible crime just by bringing you into the world.

It didn’t even matter if your mother was raped, or terrified to reveal the identity of the father. That’s just the way it was in those days.

It’s not easy to let go of that kind of baggage, especially when you live in a rural community.

Oh, look, there’s your man, the “home baby”. The one who was adopted because his mother, shockingly, never got married, or the one who arrived late and didn’t smell too good at school.

It’s the kind of baggage you carry with you well into adulthood, if you ever manage to shake it off at all….

…And, yet, in recent months his life has changed.

He has begun to find his voice. The global headlines generated by the “Tuam Babies” scandal have allowed him to talk about his sense of injustice and even do media interviews for the first time.

He wants justice for the 796 and he wants people to listen. He’s full of praise for Catherine Corless, the historian who first told the world the truth about what happened in that terrible home.

By making it clear that the truth about the “Tuam Babies” was worth fighting for, she made him see the value in his own life.

He says he’s one of the lucky ones, because eventually he was shipped out to a lovely foster home.

His childhood was not all bad, although he can’t say the same for many of his old friends and contemporaries.

In Tuam, he has helped to set up and organise a support group for survivors. They find great comfort from meeting up and talking and healing, and he’s found that he of all people has the gift of being able to express their pain.

He doesn’t want much, he says. Just some recognition that a terrible wrong was done to him and the other children in homes around the country, in the name of the Irish State.

It would help if those in authority would reply to his letters or answer their phones.

For months, since the start of the year, he’s been trying to get the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, to come and visit his little group of survivors down in Tuam.

It wouldn’t be a huge burden on the Taoiseach, the Irish Prime Minister, to take a little detour from the road to Castlebar on his way home some weekend.

Just to sit with the survivors and to hear their stories, the stories they were afraid to tell for most of their adult lives.

But when he rings the phone goes dead. Or a faceless official makes a non-committal promise that he or she will get back in touch. But never does.

He knows the abuse, the denigration, the labelling didn’t happen on the current Taoiseach’s watch, but it was done to him and his friends with the collusion of the Irish State.

It wiped out his self-esteem, to the extent that he could not hold his head high in the local pub, and he just wants to sit in a room with a few other survivors and tell the Taoiseach what that was like.

How he didn’t kill himself or drown himself in drink.

He wants some acknowledgment of the pain that he and others went through and the huge transformation he had to go through to be able to stand and talk to a reporter in a Galway park on a Sunday evening.

His friend had a little sister he never knew about, who may or may not have been buried in a septic tank. He’d love the Taoiseach to come to Tuam and just listen to their honest words.

They are not going to be able to turn back time, but it might help the healing process if the most powerful people in the land sat and listened and acknowledged the hurt caused.

He watched a new scandal erupt in Dublin last week, involving nuns who have been awarded a national hospital despite their refusal to pay adequate compensation to the victims of childhood abuse.

He watched the Taoiseach visit the White House last month and give a wonderful lecture about immigration to US President Donald Trump.

And wondered how he could make his way across the Atlantic to Washington, but not sit in his car and take a short trip down to Tuam.

After more than half a century of pain and needless shame, is that asking too much?

Ciaran Tierney is a journalist, blogger, and digital storyteller, based in Galway

Hey, Enda – is it really such a long way to Tuam? (Ciaran Tierney)