Tiny victims remembered in vigils around the country
TEDDIES, babygros and children's shoes were the poignant tributes left at the gates of Leinster House during a candlelit vigil marking the deaths of the 796 babies in Tuam.
One message inked on a tiny babygro read: "For the babies we hold in our hearts, and not in our arms."
A march took place from outside the Department for Children under banners demanding justice, while candles were lit as night fell.
Earlier two seven-year-old girls, Dasha Dlyaritskaya-Hilliard and Juliette Bruce Merzouk from Dublin, delivered a petition to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.
Signed by 30,000 people from more than a dozen countries, it urged the Government to escalate investigations into mother and baby homes.
Around 250 people turned up for the rally in the capital last night, which began with song and verse, before a minute's silence was solemnly observed for the young lives lost.
Colm O'Gorman of Amnesty International said the voices of those who had passed through the mother and baby homes had been "silenced for years".
And organiser Gary Daly questioned why the site at Tuam has not been excavated. "We need to find out what's down there and to see if there's any truth in the rumours," said the solicitor.
Survivor Con Carroll, who was born at Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, Co Tipperary, in 1964 said the revelations had brought back flashbacks of his institutional childhood. He suffered a stroke at birth, had never met his mother and was never adopted, he said.
Ken Purcell from Dublin was adopted from an institution, which he believes to have been in Blackrock, Co Cork, but has been unable to find out for certain, although he met his birth mother.
Meanwhile hundreds of people gathered in silence in Galway last night to express their horror at the deaths of almost 800 children in the Tuam Mother and Baby's home.
Tiny white paper cut-outs of 796 children, starkly labelled by number, were draped along the gates of the children's playground in Eyre Square.
The vigil heard statements read from former home resident JP Rodgers and historian Catherine Corless who discovered the records of the 796 deaths. Song and poems were also shared.
And Cavan Women's Network organised a candlelit vigil in solidarity with all women who were forced to give their babies up for adoption.