TUAM: Mass grave of 800 BABIES found at Irish orphanage

12 Mar 2017

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Archbishop of Tuam Dr Michael Neary says he “wishes again” to apologise for the hurt caused by the failings of the Roman Catholic Church in relation to unmarried mothers and children.
Dr Neary has also called for an inquiry into “ all aspects of life” during the time when unmarried mothers and their children were placed in institutional care.
This inquiry should broaden the focus from one particular religious congregation, and instead address “the roles and interrelationships between Church, State, local authorities and society generally”, he said in a homily preached for the feast of St Aengus in Tuam cathedral on Saturday evening.
He also noted that the use of “highly charged emotive language” in the past week , while “understandable”, could be “counter-productive”.
The archbishop, who last week said he was “horrified and saddened” at confirmation of “significant” remains of infants on the grounds of the former Bon Secours home in Tuam, said it was “now timely” that “this dimension of our social history be addressed and thoroughly examined”.
The findings of the test excavation by the Commission for the Investigation into Mother and Babies home, published on March 3rd, involved taking samples, which were radiocarbon dated to the 1950s.
The home ran from 1925 to 1961, and local historian Catherine Corless has obtained death certificates for almost 800 children during that period.
“ This is a deeply distressing story for all of us, but especially so for those affected individuals and families. We can only attempt to understand the emotional upheaval which mothers suffered as they felt so helpless and isolated,” Dr Neary said.
“What is particularly harrowing is the report of high levels of mortality and malnutrition.
“ It was an era when ‘unmarried mothers’ – as our society at the time labelled women who were pregnant and not married – were often judged, stigmatised and ostracised by their own community and the Church, and this all happened in a harsh and unforgiving climate. Compassion, understanding and mercy were sorely lacking.”
“It is now timely that this dimension of our social history be addressed and thoroughly examined. To do so would begin the process of attempting to explain, but not to excuse, what happened in our not too distant collective past,” he said.
“ Perhaps we could begin with this fundamental question: ‘How could the culture of Irish society, which purported to be defined by Christian values, have allowed itself to behave in such a manner towards our most vulnerable’?,” he continued.
“There is an understandable sense of shared anger arising from this situation; people are deeply distressed and desperately upset by what they hear and read,” Dr Neary said.
“There is a danger, however, that when anger begins to die down, we may be tempted to move quickly to the next social problem from the past without having fully understood the complex and tragic historical situation before us,” he said.
Using “ highly-charged emotive language, while understandable in the situation, may prove to be counter-productive”, he added
An inquiry to address the “roles and interrelationships between Church, State, local authorities and society generally” should “ensure that the truth will emerge no matter how unpalatable it may be to those on whichever side of the present discussion”, he said.
“In this way we will be enabled to move genuinely forward,” he said.
“One hopes that the report of the Commission will enable that truth to surface in a clear and objective manner,” he said.
“Even today, there are huge challenges surrounding how we care for the disadvantaged in our society. In years to come our present society will inevitably be subjected to scrutiny and will most likely be found deficient in many areas to which we are blind at present,” Dr Neary said.
“We need to learn from the past in order to prevent similar injustices in our time, and so as to inform our future generations,” he said.
“I wish to again apologise for the hurt caused by the failings of the church as part of that time and society when – instead of being cherished – particular children and their mothers were not welcomed, they were not wanted and they were not loved,” he said.

11 Mar 2017

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UntitledThe religious order at the centre of the Tuam babies burial scandal has been paid €43.5m over the past 10 years by the private hospital group it runs.

Accounts for Bon Secours Health System Ltd reveal the payments were made to Bon Secours Sisters Ireland in respect of the leasing of buildings and interest on loans advanced by the order. The payments mean that, unlike many other religious orders in Ireland, the Bon Secours Sisters are in rude financial health.

However, the order has refused to say what it does with the money paid to it by the hospital group.

Its finances have come under sharp focus in recent days, with calls made in the Dáil and the Seanad for the order’s resources to be made available to survivors of the Tuam home and relatives of those who died.

The order operated a mother and baby home in the Co Galway town between 1925 and 1961. Historian Catherine Corless believes the remains of almost 800 children may have been buried in underground chambers at the property.

Bon Secours Health System Ltd has private hospitals in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Tralee, as well as a private clinic in Cavan and a care village in Cork.

People Before Profit TD Brid Smith Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

People Before Profit TD Brid Smith 

Its most recent set of accounts, for 2015, showed a payment of just under €4m was made to the order that year in respect of the leasing of buildings and interest on loans.

The accounts also revealed the hospital group generated a profit of €2.3m.

The order refused to discuss its finances when questions on the issue were posed by the Irish Independent. “The Bon Secours have no comment to make on the financial questions,” it said in a statement.

The refusal to comment means it remains unclear whether the order would consider making a financial contribution to survivors of the Tuam home or their relatives.

It is also unclear if the order will consider assisting financially with anticipated efforts to identify the remains discovered by the Mother and Baby Home Commission in Tuam.

The order said it was co-operating with the commission, but declined to go into specifics.

“The order is co-operating fully with it, which means that we cannot comment on any aspect of it as to do so would be to commit an offence,” the statement said.

Read More: ‘My dearest wish is that my sister is still alive’

Notes in the Bon Secours Health System Ltd financial accounts indicate there are plans for significant investment in the group of hospitals in the coming years. Some €9m was spent upgrading facilities in 2015 and further investment of up to €150m is planned by 2020.

The hospital group catered for almost 100,000 patients in 2015 and employed 350 medical consultants and over 2,700 additional personnel.

In the Dáil this week, People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith called for the order to be disbanded and its resources used to compensate families involved and to provide memorial services for the children buried in Tuam and other homes.

In the Seanad, Sinn Féin senator Máire Devine said profits from the hospital group “need to be given back to the Irish people and to the women and children who were so dreadfully treated”.

However, Maeve O’Rourke, the legal advisor to the Clann, a group assisting people give evidence to the commission, said compensation was not on its agenda at present.

Ms O’Rourke said access to records and archives was the key concern. “What people want right now is access to information and there are major concerns about the secrecy surrounding the commission of investigation,” she said.

Accounts reveal massive sums paid to order at centre of Tuam scandal  https://archive.is/iA5Mk


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Survivors of Ireland’s mother and baby scandal deserve justice Guardian https://archive.is/23UGh


4th Mar 2017

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http://news.sky.com/story/infants-remains-found-at-former-mother-and-baby-home-in-ireland-10788414  https://archive.is/MgCaE


2014

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http://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/mother-baby-home-horror-there-3677328  https://archive.is/ZnETP

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