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'It's a fury informed by the deepest sort of sorrow' - Sebastian Barry on mother and baby homes, and the inequalities that remain

In the wake of the Mother and Baby Homes Report, Laureate for Irish Fiction Sebastian Barry addresses our collective responsibility for the horrors of the past - and the injustices of today. Truth and kindness are, he believes, the only vaccine

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Sebastian Barry

Sebastian Barry

A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry

A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry

The names and ages of some of the infants who died at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home hang at the shrine, which stands on a mass burian site in Tuam, Co Galway. Photo: Charles McQuill

The names and ages of some of the infants who died at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home hang at the shrine, which stands on a mass burian site in Tuam, Co Galway. Photo: Charles McQuill

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Sebastian Barry

His Costa award-winning 2008 novel The Secret Scripture told the story of Roseanne McNulty, pregnant, sectioned, abandoned by her family and society. She might have stepped from one of the 3,000 pages of last month's Mother and Baby Homes Commission report, a chilling litany of crimes against Irish women and their babies between 1922 and 1998.

"What you feel is some sort of fury," says Laureate for Irish Fiction, Sebastian Barry (65). "But at the same time having to accept that a lot was happening in my lifetime. My children are now in their late 20s and when they criticise Irish society, they often say, 'Oh, well, that happened on your watch, Dad'.


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