‘A stain on Ireland’s conscience’: identification to begin of 796 bodies buried at children’s home
On a balmy summer day, the site of the children’s mass grave in Tuam appears deceptively bucolic. There are no crosses or tombstones in the walled patch of grass. Butterflies flit over shrubs. Robins cheep from branches. It’s peaceful.
“They are two-feet down from where we are standing,” Catherine Corless said. “The bones have mingled together and water got in and thrashed them around. But they’re there.
Corless is the local historian who a decade ago alerted Ireland, and the world, to a shocking truth about this Galway town: for decades an institution for unmarried mothers put the remains of dead babies and children in a disused subterranean septic tank.
Corless found that, between 1925 and 1961, 796 children died at the St Mary’s mother and baby home, run by nuns from the Bon Secours order – but there were no burial records. Many are believed to have ended up in the former sewage facility. “It became a handy way to dispose of them,” Corless told the Observer. “They didn’t have to account for the deaths. They didn’t want anyone to know. All this time those poor little remains were disintegrating.”
The bones, and their secrets, are to be excavated. A team of forensic investigators led by Daniel Mac Sweeney, a former International Committee of the Red Cross envoy, has been tasked with exhuming, analysing and identifying the remains.
“There has been nothing on this scale before in Ireland,” Roderic O’Gorman, the children’s minister, said in an interview. “This will be one of the most complex operations of its kind in the world.”
The age of the remains, the fact they are children and have been exposed to water will complicate analysis and identification. The excavation team will be independent but is legally obliged to use advanced techniques to match DNA samples with living relatives, said O’Gorman. “Anything that can be done will be done.”
The goal is to give a respectful burial to all the remains, he said. “I’ve always regarded Tuam as a stain on our national conscience. The fact that infant remains were treated so callously even in death is deeply disturbing.”
The Catholic church’s attempt to deny and minimise what happened left her cold. “It turned me totally against the church. They turned their back on me and told lies.”
JB COMMENTS: Once again we are reminded of the cruelty and barbaric behaviour offered by Nuns and Priests of the Catholic faith towards children and babies.
Once gain we are reminded of how the church protects itself from any wrong doing and lies and manipulates in order to cover up any wrong doing - and all at the expense of the ones abused and murdered - yes murdered - at the hands of nuns and priests.
Once again I wonder why the hell anyone has anything to do with a religion that has so much blood on its hands throughout the centuries and why anyone would follow such a vengeful God, as portrayed in the RC belief structure and why people cannot grasp a COMPLETELY LOVING GOD RATHER THAN A VENGEFUL DIETY.
THERE HAS BEEN FAR TOO MUCH ABUSE OVER THE YEARS.
TOO MUCH HATE AND TOO MUCH FEAR AND MANIPULATION OF THE TRUTH.
As a sex worker in the past I met MANY priests and vicars over the years and some were the kindest sweetest people - others were cold fish - emotionless while others were the sickest most twisted people I had ever met. Now - shouldn't all those working for God be kind and thoughtful, loving and sincere and not rapists, paedophiles, molesters and abusers ?
The bad thing is, THE CHURCH COVERS THE ABUSE UP - AND THAT IS WHERE THEY GO WRONG AND LOOSE THE FAITH.
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