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State must hold Church to account for Tuam babies scandal


A woman leaves a candle during a 2014 march and candlelit vigil in Dublin, in memory of the Tuam babies. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

A woman leaves a candle during a 2014 march and candlelit vigil in Dublin, in memory of the Tuam babies. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

A woman leaves a candle during a 2014 march and candlelit vigil in Dublin, in memory of the Tuam babies. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

I will not be alone in being chilled by the revelation of mass graves at the Bon Secours institution at Tuam.

As an adopted child spirited away to England in 1953, I thank my lucky stars for my mother's bravery and clear headedness in facilitating my escape from the clutches of the Catholic Church.

It is now an inescapable fact that the Catholic Church in Ireland waged a war on vulnerable women and children. Following on from the scandals exposing physical and sexual abuse by clergy and psychological torture inflicted on innocent children we now learn of the ultimate sin - dumping babies in mass graves.

The Catholic Church is responsible for crimes and should be held to account.

It is time that the State stopped turning a blind eye.

I would like to think the Church might take a moral lead but I doubt you will hear much from the pulpit on the subject.

Dominic Fox

London, UK

Order should accept blame

Hundreds of babies buried secretly, many in sewage chambers and a decommissioned septic tank: Another true life horror story from an era that Taoiseach Enda Kenny described as "cruel and pitiless".

Historian Catherine Corless is owed a huge debt of gratitude. Her courage and painstaking research led to the exposure of this shameful episode. Small wonder that she was obstructed and blocked every step of the way.

The order in charge of the Tuam facility claimed to be committed to God's work and acting in his name. Where was God when those babies were buried week after week, year after year?

Ms Corless shone a light into that darkness.

The religious order involved needs to do more than apologise; it needs to disband. I say this with the greatest respect to the many decent nuns that undoubtedly served with the order.

I believe, too, that religious orders generally are in deep denial of what a percentage of their members perpetrated, colluded in, or covered up over the decades.

Denial is no longer acceptable. The order that ran the Tuam institution must end its silence. It needs to understand, accept, and publicly acknowledge that the mothers and babies were innocent.

The real stigma belongs to those who viewed, or treated them, with such callousness and inhumanity.

John Fitzgerald

Callan, Co Kilkenny

FF contributed to pensions mess

I agree with Willie O'Dea on all the points he made in his article saying that people who are fit to work beyond the age of 65 should be allowed to do so (Irish Independent, March 3).

In his argument he states in glowing terms the benefits of an ageing population contributing to society. He is not alone in trying to promote this idea.

Of course, the real motive behind this is based on the fact that in the very near future, the State will be unable to properly fund the old-age pension, which is largely due to the fact that the party which Mr O'Dea is part of did not plan for the future while in government.

Instead, it presided over the destruction and mismanagement of the economy. In fact Fianna Fáil, along with the past Fine Gael/Labour government, raided the €25bn national pension reserve fund to pay off the debts of banks and to pay bondholders.

The last government even placed a levy on people's private pensions, the proceeds of which were used to reduce the VAT in the hospitality sector.

This lack of retirement funding is currently evident as the State pension retirement eligibility age has risen to 66 and will be extended to 68 over the next number of years.

So, these proposals are not entirely for the benefit of future retirees but to cover the failure of successive governments to adequately plan for the future. Mr O'Dea ought to be suggesting measures so that people can retire in dignity at 65 if they so wish, instead of the present situation, in which they are facing the dole queue until they qualify for the State pension.

Christy Kelly

Templeglantine, Co Limerick

Rural water charges are fair

I write in response to Frank Power's letter (Irish Independent, March 4), which stated that rural dwellers were treated unfairly because they had to pay for their water charges and septic tanks. I wish to disagree for the following reasons.

The prices of houses in the countryside are a lot cheaper than those in the cities.

When a housing estate is built in the city, the builder has to pay the local authority a huge sum for the houses to be connected to the mains and the sewerage system.

In the countryside the price of such a connection is so high that the house builder finds it far cheaper to dig a well and install a septic tank.

The rural dweller has the advantage of living closer to nature and can build a mansion of a house for a fraction of what it would cost in the city, and also benefits from lower property taxes.

So each location, urban and rural, has its advantages and disadvantages.

Terry Branigan

Blackrock, Co Dublin

How FG can reverse its fortunes

Soon we will have the Fine Gael-led Government negotiating, alongside the EU, with Britain on Brexit.

When the negotiations are finally finished, Ireland will be worse off and the Irish people will turn on Fine Gael, as a majority did against Michael Collins on his return from the treaty negotiations in London in 1921.

The solution for Fine Gael?

Call an election now. If the result is in line with the polls, Fianna Fáil will win.

It will then form a government with Shane Ross and co of the Independent Alliance.

So, when Fianna Fáil fails to maintain our borders, and we end up with trade tariffs, etc, Mr Ross and co will walk and an election will be called.

The result? Fine Gael could come riding in on its white steed and get five years in government.

Damien Carroll

Kingswood, Dublin 24

Irish Independent