Thursday 23 November 2017

One woman remembers babies 'disappearing' at an orphanage run by nuns

Martina Keogh
Martina Keogh
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday admitted that more mass baby graves – other than the one found at Tuam, Co Galway – could possibly exist throughout Ireland.

Dublin woman Martina Keogh holds this very suspicion.

Martina was sent to St Joseph’s industrial school in Clifden, Co Galway by the courts, for the crime of stealing an apple and a swimming suit.

She spent almost two years at the school in the 1960s – and during this time she claims that some babies disappeared.

She believes that the case of the Clifden school warrants a full analysis by the Government, in relation to whether babies died while in the care of the Sisters of Mercy and if so, where they were buried.

Martina, from Dublin’s north inner city, entered the home for orphans aged nine.

The mother-and-baby home in Tuam, Co Galway
The mother-and-baby home in Tuam, Co Galway

As one of the older children, she remembers a grim situation where babies were malnourished.

She was responsible for feeding the orphan babies goody (a mix of bread, milk, and sugar) and bottled milk.

Naturally, she grew attached to some of these babies. But she remembers how one baby in particular suddenly disappeared.

The children were never told where the baby had gone, and the baby was never mentioned again.

See the international headlines: Tuam baby scandal: How the world's media has reacted 

Now that the bodies of the infants have been located in a sceptic tank in Tuam on the site of a former Mother and Babies home, Martina is seeking answers about the Clifden orphanage.

When contacted by the Sisters of Mercy said: "Babies did not disappear at St Joseph’s Industrial School Clifden. We strongly urge that if persons you are talking to have any such information that they report this immediately to an Garda Siochana".

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