Pressure builds for Tuam babies inquiry

Archbishop of Tuam says archdiocese would co-operate with any inquiry

In a statement last night, Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary said while the archdiocese would co-operate with any inquiry, it did not have any involvement in the running of the home and had no records in its archives.

In a statement last night, Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary said while the archdiocese would co-operate with any inquiry, it did not have any involvement in the running of the home and had no records in its archives.

Thu, Jun 5, 2014, 01:09

There is growing pressure on the Government to hold a full historical inquiry into the deaths of almost 800 children in a mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway between the 1920s and the 1960s.

There were numerous calls from TDs, Senators and councillors yesterday for a full inquiry following the disclosure that many infants and children who died in the home run by the Bon Secours order were buried in an unmarked plot.

Minister for Children Charlie Flanagan said yesterday that he was giving “active consideration to the best means of addressing the harrowing details emerging regarding the burial arrangements for children who died many years ago in mother and baby homes”.

‘Deeply disturbing’

“Many of the revelations are deeply disturbing and a shocking reminder of a darker past in Ireland when our children were not cherished as they should have been,” he said.

 

In a statement last night, Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary said while the archdiocese would co-operate with any inquiry, it did not have any involvement in the running of the home and had no records in its archives.

“There exists a clear moral imperative on the Bon Secours Sisters in this case to act upon their responsibilities in the interest of the common good,” Dr Neary said.

Records uncovered by local historian Catherine Corless showed a large number of children died at the home over 36 years between 1925 and 1961. Almost 800 newborns and older infants died in that period, an average of almost 30 per year.

The building and land had been in use as a workhouse and mother and baby home since the 1840s. It is believed the remains were discovered some time ago but it is not established when they date from, or if any precede the operation of the home from 1925.

Yesterday politicians from both Government and Opposition parties, including Galway East Minister of State Ciarán Cannon, called for an inquiry into the circumstances behind so many deaths in the home, as well as into the remains found in the unmarked plot.

‘Manslaughter’

One Government Senator from Galway, Fine Gael’s Hildegarde Naughton, claimed in the Seanad that what had occurred was “manslaughter”, although no others went that far.

 

Tuam-based Fianna Fáil TD Colm Keaveney said the Taoiseach should take a strategic role in the matter, notwithstanding his being abroad on a Government trip to the US. He said Enda Kenny should order an interdepartmental investigation.

“The issues around the horrendous disposal of bodies in unmarked locations raises questions about the role of the State and service providers,” he said.

Some politicians said they would like an inquiry widened to all such homes not covered by the Magdalene inquires.