Monday 18 December 2017

Questions grow as full extent of scandal unfolds

Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

AS the full extent of the shocking mother and babies home scandal becomes apparent, a number of questions remain to be answered.

Just how much light the Bon Secours order of nuns can shed on this matter remains to be seen. They have welcomed an investigation saying they were "shocked and deeply saddened" by the reports about St Mary's Mother and Baby Home.

However, it is not clear if remaining members of the order are aware of any gravesite for children at the home.

What do the surviving records from the home tell us?

All records on the home were passed on by the Bon Secours to the Health Service Executive in Galway. The ledgers have now been found at Tulsa, the Child and Family Agency. They must be studied in depth.

The specific number of children who may be buried in the tank at Tuam is also unclear. Historian Catherine Corless has so far checked only a cross-section of 100 names from the list against local burials. It has also emerged that records do not exist for all of the graveyards in the area. A full in-depth review of each of the 796 children will be needed to ensure they were not buried elsewhere.

When the Government was first made aware of the claims is also being queried. The discovery first came to light in 1975 but it is not clear to what level authorities were made aware of the gruesome find at that stage or what action was taken.

Garda files on the matter will now be reviewed to see what and when the force was told about the matter. When the grave was first unearthed back in 1975, it remains unclear if gardai were alerted to the discovery at this stage or whether any investigation was carried out.

Irish Independent

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