Thursday 22 February 2018

Warped worldview led to Tuam horror

In Catholic Ireland violence and sadism came easily to those who ran orphanages, writes John-Paul McCarthy

Pope Benedict
Pope Benedict

John-Paul McCarthy

Nothing illuminates quite like an Irish scandal. The nightmarish discovery of hundreds of babies' bodies in the mother-and-child home at Tuam encouraged elements within the "pro-life" faction to reach back for the playbook they used during the barbaric death of Savita Halappanavar for want of an abortion that would have been her constitutional right in nearly every major hospital in western Europe.

The Pro-Life Campaign told the Irish Examiner on Friday that Tuam was "at a very early stage", an admonition that lost much of its power when read through the prism of the parallel Bessborough home horror-show in Cork. (This dungeon-type place denied poor women and girls pain relief during delivery, as well as postpartum stitches and penicillin).

Never one to miss a populist trick then, Gerry Adams invoked these scandals as part of an argument about a united Ireland. Partition in 1920 supposedly delivered the South into the hands of the Catholic Church to the extent that it excised most of the non-catholic population from the Free State.

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