Tuam Home survivors call for inquest into children’s deaths

Galway Daily news Advisory Board appointed for Tuam Mother and Bany Home excavation

The Tuam Home Survivors Network have called for an inquest to establish the cause of death of the children buried at the former Mother and Baby Home.

After the release of the fifth interim report on the Mother and Baby Home, the Survivors Network issued a statement which said “there can be no closure in the Tuam story without establishing the cause of death of the Tuam victims.”

The fifth interim report from the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation was released this week and contained a number of damming conclusions about the Tuam Home.

It said that Galway County Council must have been aware of the children’s burial ground as the council employees would have been on site performing maintenance regularly, and it was mentioned explicitly in county council minutes from the 1970s.

A statement from the Survivors Network describes what happened in the Tuam Home ” the most monumental and ugliest crime in the history of the State”.

They condemn the manner in which children were buried in a structure which the Commission’s report says was meant for sewage as “not merely illegal, it was an act of criminality” and accuse the council of complicity in this.

Other issues laid out in the report include that the mass grave likely extends significantly beyond the boundaries of the memorial garden there now and the question of of any children were adopted.

The Survivors Network criticises the county council for a “plantation of young trees created by Galway County Council after the closure of the ‘Home’, consciously and deliberately on the area which it knew contained a mass grave”.

It also disputes the reports assertion that there is “little basis” for the theory that some of the Tuam Home children may have been adopted to the US.

The report does note that there are some discrepancies in the records of deaths at the Mother and Baby Home, but adds that adoptions were “generally recorded” in the records and there would be little point in subterfuge.

The Survivors Network asked the Commission to identify which records these are, and adds, “There is no certainty that all the children registered as dead, did in fact die at the time their deaths were registered”.

But the harshest criticism was saved for the Bon Secours order which operated the Mother and Baby Home until 1961, and remained resident there until 2001.

“The Bon Secours’ role in the Tuam Mother and Baby Home may have ended when it was closed suddenly in 1961, but it was forty years later, that they left behind the evidence of perhaps the most monumental and ugliest crime in the history of the State.”

“The Bon Secours had left the scene of the crime. They left behind them the bodies of some eight hundred children and a number of unfortunate women in what was, or had been a cess-pit, however described.”

This report did not deal with the causes of death of the children buried at the Tuam Home, adding that this would be addressed in a 2020 report.

The Survivors Network repsonded by saying “The causes of death of the the Tuam Children can only be established by an Inquest.”

“Nothing else is acceptable or possible in law. We will not add our names to those who have betrayed the dead children of Tuam.”