Tag Archives: Tuam

This morning.

The Irish Daily Star (above) revealed the official death toll at Sean Ross Abbey (top) in Roscrea, County Tipperary.

The abbey was a mother and baby home from 1930 to 1970 run by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Journalist Alison O’Reilly, who broke the Tuam story, says a total of 1024 children died at the home with 455 deaths listed as ‘heart failure‘ and  a further 128 children dying from severe malnutrition.

Last week, an Aljazeera investigation claimed a sewage system was built on the site where children are buried.

Last week; Evidence Of A Sewage System In The Angel’s Plot

From top-: Former Minister for Children Katherine Zappone with Pope Francis during his visit in 2018; Saturday’s Irish Daily Mail exclusive; Ireland’s Papal Nuncio Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo ; historian Catherine Corless; Letter to Ms Corless from the Papal Nuncio last week.

Saturday/This morning.

Historian Catherine Corless hailed as ‘uplifting’ support from the Vatican for the exhumation of remains of babies at the former Tuam mother and baby home.

Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, the Pope’s ambassador to Ireland, has backed the call for re-burial.

A 2017 report, commissioned by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, confirmed a significant quantity of human remains, aged ‘from 35 foetal weeks to two to three years,’ were discovered in a vault that had served as a sewage tank.

After several delays, the final report by the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes was postponed again in June and will not be ready until October.

Via The Irish Times

Ms Corless said: “It is really degrading for all survivors. They are being treated like they always were, as if they’re not important, they are second class citizens.

I hope this might make the Government aware that we are very much here and we haven’t gone away.

“It is heartbreaking to think that it doesn’t seem to matter, that hundreds of babies were disposed of in this manner. It is beyond my understanding how anyone can leave them there. It is a disgrace that this hasn’t been sorted long ago.”

Ms Corless said it “is a boost, now the Vatican is behind us.

Ms Corless said the suggestion by Archbishop Neary that the Tuam site could be blessed if the Government objected to the exhumation of bodies was unacceptable.

You can’t bless a septic tank and leave the remains there. That is out of the question,” she said.

Vatican backs campaign for reburial of Tuam babies’ remains (Brian Hutton, Irish Times)

Previously: A Further Delay


Thanks Bebe


Voice by Majella Kelly.

Situated at the burial ground in Tuam.

Pics: Breeda Murphy

Peter Mulryan

Free Saturday, December 7?

Peter Mulryan lived in the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, County Galway for four and a half years before he was adopted out. He believes a sister called Marian died at the home or was trafficked out of Ireland as a child.

Peter, of the Tuam Home Survivors Network, writes:

Please join me to turn on the Christmas tree lights at 3.30pm on Saturday December 7 at the Tuam Mother & Baby Institution site.

Christmas is a time where families unite, so let us unite as one family at the Tuam site to acknowledge what happened to the babies and mothers who continue to lie in a sewage pit.

Let us join together and turn on the Christmas tree lights, for the love of those little souls and to show our love and respect for every woman and child who was denied their human rights in life and continue to be denied them in death.

I simply ask, as a survivor of an institution and as someone who has a family member missing, that you would come along and give an hour of your time on Saturday December 7.

Let us all take a moment together to reflect on the babies and mothers who didn’t make it through and to stand in solidarity with all survivors of all institutions who continue to be haunted by the trauma.

I would much appreciate if you could invite your friends and family. I hope that as many survivors of these institutions, their families, friends and members of the public can make it to this Christmas gathering. Please remember to share our event on social media to spread the word.

Thank you for reading this and I hope to see you there on December 7th.

Lights on at 3.30pm, December 7.

Tuam Home Survivors Network

Special rapporteur on child protection Geoffrey Shannon; journalist Conall Ó Fátharta

Conall Ó Fátharta, in The Irish Examiner, reports:

The Mother and Baby Homes Commission is obliged under human rights law to provide information to family members about where their relatives are buried — despite claiming it is legally prohibited from doing so.

That is according to a number of legal experts who have said that not only is the commission misinterpreting the Commissions of Investigation Act in claiming it can not release such information, but that it is also obliged to under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

In a report prepared for the Government on the human rights issues arising from the infant remains discovered at Tuam, special rapporteur on child protection Geoffrey Shannon pointed to two decisions of the European Convention of Human Rights which found that, under Article 8, “family members of a deceased have a right to information regarding the fate of their loved one”, and that this includes burial location.

There you go now.

Legal experts: Commission obliged to provide burial info (Conall Ó Fátharta, Irish Examiner)

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

This morning.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone has published the Fifth Interim Report from the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.

The report examines the burial arrangements at institutions including the Tuam Mother and Baby Home.

Via The Department of Children and Youth Affairs:

The Commission has stated that it will include an analysis of the causes of deaths and the registration of deaths [at Tuam] in its final report which is due by February 2020.

The report makes a number of findings in relation to the burials at Tuam:

The Commission states that it is clear that many of the children who died in the Tuam Home are buried in the underground chambers.

The report states that these chambers were not a recognised burial ground or purpose built burial chamber and that it did not provide for the dignified interment of human remains.

The Commission concludes that there is little basis for the theory that rather than having died, the children were ‘sold’ to America.

The report makes no specific recommendations but calls on anyone who may have information relating to the Tuam site to come forward and speak with them.

The report also examines the burial practices in a number of other institutions including Bessborough, Bethany Home, Castlepollard and Sean Ross Abbey.

In the case of Bessborough, the Commission found no physical or documentary evidence of systematic burials within the grounds, but considers that it is highly likely that burials took place there.

The Commission did not consider it feasible to excavate the full 60 acres involved, let alone the rest of the 200-acre estate on which the there has been extensive building work since the institution closed.

In Sean Ross Abbey there is a designated child burial ground in the grounds of the institution. The Commission has undertaken a geophysical study and subsequently a test excavation of the site and the results of this excavation are currently being examined. The Commission will report on this in their final report.

More as we get it.

Read full report here.

Thanks Bebe

The Fifth Interim report of Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and certain related Matters) will be published ” as soon as possible’ said Minister for Children Katherine Zappone.

Ms Zappone told Catherine Connolly TD that ‘Subject to advice and approval it is my intention to publish the report prior to Easter’

Separately, in a written reply this week to Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald, Ms Zappone also said the report includes burial arrangements “in circumstances where the [children’s] remains were initially transferred to educational institutions for anatomical examination”.

Ms Zappone stated:

It is a substantial report which focuses on the burial arrangements of persons who died while resident in these institutions.

The report includes extensive technical reports prepared in the course of the Commission’s investigations into the burial site associated with the institution formerly known as the Tuam Mother and Baby Home and the Commission’s assessment of burial arrangements in respect of a number of other institutions within its remit.

It also reports on burial arrangements in circumstances where the remains were initially transferred to educational institutions for anatomical examination.

I intend to seek formal Government approval to publish the report after I have the opportunity to discuss the report with the Commission and consult the Attorney General as appropriate. I will seek to conclude these considerations as soon as possible.

The dignity and memory of those who died in these institutions is central to my approach to these matters. I am mindful of the expectations of their families for an early publication date of the report.

My Department will advise representative groups, and those who have been in contact with the department on these matters, of developments prior to the publication of the report.

Given the importance and sensitivity of these matters, I do not propose to comment further on the contents of the report in advance of it being made public.

Previously: Tuam and DNA

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:

Right To Know

Previously: The Wages Of Spin

Our Worst Fears

Mike Hynes tweetz:

The names of the 796 souls lost at St Mary’s in Tuam, brought back into our consciousness through this tapestry of their names that now hangs in Áras Moyola at #NUIG [National University of Ireland Galway]

Related: University launches Tuam mother-and-baby home oral history project (Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times)

This morning.

The Tuam Home Survivors’ Network has urged the Government to begin collecting DNA samples from the mass grave immediately.

In December, it was announced that excavation of the site would begin at the end of 2019.

Network spokesperson Breeda Murphy writes:

This work should proceed in a way that will be of greatest benefit to the greatest number of survivors, victims and families.

For this to be achieved, as much information as possible should be obtained from each sample of human remains. The quantifying of the DNA extracted is the paramount task to be accomplished.

Based on this quantity, a decision can then be made on the best method to use to achieve best outcome:

High yield of DNA – Standard Forensic testing using Short Tandem Repeat (STR) analysis to determine relationship to those searching for a family member; if no match is found , move on to DNA Microarray technology using single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis to search genealogy companies. Then perform whole genome sequencing (WGS) for further information on genealogy, medical history, etc.

Low yield of DNA
– Proceed directly to WGS to obtain the greatest amount of information possible.

The methodology of course, should be peer reviewed and/or follow guidelines from other sites for example, World Trade Centre, California fires, ancient sites, etc.

In the event, the quantity is insufficient for current analysis, it should be safely and appropriately stored future analysis when technology advances will present new opportunities for matching.

There is a certain urgency to this process given age profile and health status. R

esults from our ageing and in, some cases, frail membership should be banked to eliminate any delay in returning human remains to identifiable relatives for dignified burial

Tuam Home Survivors’ Network