Unmarked grave of 800 children found in Galway

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by crisp83, Jun 5, 2014.

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  1. The Septics and Canucks I worked with used to smuggle in grot mags tucked into their cowboy boots.

    I couldn't do that with Doc Marten boots.
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  2. From the Irish Times which appears to be the sole newspaper doing anything like balanced reporting on teh issue.

    What is the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation?

    Background: Remit includes investigating procedures in respect of children who died while in these institutions
    Fri, Mar 3, 2017, 13:40 Updated: Fri, Mar 3, 2017, 13:45

    The site at the Tuam mother and baby home, Galway. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

    Tuam, Co Galway. This follows work by the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation which carried out planned excavations there.

    What is the commission and what is its remit?

    The Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation was established by the last government on February 17th 2015 and is chaired by Judge Yvonne Murphy.

    It is directed to investigate and to make a report to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in accordance with the provisions of Section 32 of the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 (No. 23 of 2004).

    The commission has been asked, among other things, to establish the circumstances and arrangements for the entry of single women into mother and baby homes and to establish the living conditions they experienced there.

    It has also been asked to examine mortality amongst mothers and children residing in these institutions (to determine the general causes, circumstances, and rates of mortality) and to compare it to the literature on mortality amongst such other groups of women and children as might be relevant.

    Burial arrangements

    The commission is also investigating postmortem practices and procedures in respect of children or women who died while resident in these institutions, including the reporting of deaths, burial arrangements and the transfer of remains to educational institutions for the purpose of anatomical examination.

    It is also looking into the extent of compliance with relevant regulatory and ethical standards of the time of “systemic” vaccine trials found by the commission to have been conducted on children resident in one or more of these institutions.

    This includes vaccine trials conducted using vaccines manufactured by Burroughs Welcome in 1960/61, 1970 or 1973.


    A confidential committee, which meets survivor groups and those who worked in the homes, has been shaping the commission’s work.

    More than 6,000 adoptions were recorded as having taken place in six mother and baby homes in the 23 years between 1950 and 1973, contemporaneous records show. The children went to a range of destinations including the US, Britain and Germany, as well as to homes across Ireland.

    The records are contained in a file contained in the archives of the Department of Health titled Children and Mothers in Special Homes Annual Returns covering the 23 years between April 1st, 1950, and March 31st 1973.


    Between those years, an average of 63,000 births occurred in Ireland each year. The records also shed light on 518 deaths which occurred in five mother and baby homes (excluding Tuam) between April 1st, 1950, and March 31st, 1973. These deaths are over and above the 61 deaths which occurred in the children’s home in Tuam from April 1st, 1950, onwards.

    In the years between 1965 and 1969, an average of 980 women and 1,050 children a year were admitted to such institutions, a figure which includes children born in the homes. The records show that all five institutions did accept private admissions but confirm that the vast majority of women and children in these homes were provided for by the State.

    Figures released to The Irish Times show the costs of the Murphy inquiry were €1,485,676 in 2015 and were due to reach a further €2 million in 2016.

    The majority of the monies has been spent on pay, with salary costs reaching €1.7million.

    What is the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation?
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  3. Bit selective on the 'facts' you have used there. Corless traced records of nearly 800 child deaths at the home and no records of any official burials. She has doubts about all of them being in the tank because approximately 200 of them died while the tank was probably in operation and she doesn't see how that could have worked.

    There is no burial ground, there has never been an official burial ground on that site. There is a concrete tank that was either for waste water or a septic tank. What Corless objects to is the use of the word 'dumped' because she doesn't know what the procedure for putting the bodies into the tank were.

    A sample number of bodies were taken out of the tank during the recent dig. All of them date to the period the Mother and Baby home were in operation.

    Inspection reports on the home from the 1940s indicated that there were concerns about the rate the children were dying at. They stated 23 to 34% of the children in the home were dying, the rate for the rest of the country was about 8%.
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  4. There are no no records of any official burials because neither the Catholic Church nor many of the Local Authorities recorded places of burial.

    There was and is a burial ground at the site and there are photographs to prove it in every newspaper article. Most such institutions buried people on the grounds of the institution. Whether they were official or not is open to debate. I know of four within a ten mile radius of where I am at the moment.

    A sample number of bodies is not an extensive investigation. Also the Commission of Inquiry only has a remit to investigate the mother and baby homes within the time period.

    Do you have a link to the 1940s inspection report? A death rate of 23 to 34% doesn't tie in with 800 dead in 36 years in an institution that had 200 children and 100 adult inmates at any one time.
  5. It wasn't known by anyone to be a burial ground from the home closing in 1961 until 1975 when the bodies were first discovered. Two young boys playing on waste ground pulled a slab off the top of the tank and saw skeletons. The council then covered it back up but a local couple maintained it and built a shrine type thing.

    ‘It’s time to do something’ – The forgotten mass grave of 800 babies in Galway

    The reports were part of Corless' research and I don't think they are online. There are quotes from it in this article. Children at Tuam home were 'emaciated' and starved - Independent.ie
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  6. meerkatz

    meerkatz On ROPs

    Child mortality rates didn't significantly start to improve until after WWII.

    One thing to bear in mid, you would NOT have been getting good or supportive healthcare in a Mothers home run by the Church. 'Exposure' was de facto practised - 'It would be a blessing if God took him' if the child was anything other than robustly healthy. And if the mother suffered post pregnancy complications? Gods punishment.

    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
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  7. AAGF


    Thanks for that - just watched the whole thing. Loved the extra swing at Brother John's head ...
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  8. I'd be extremely surprised if local people were unaware of there being bodies buried on the site. Generally in Ireland older people especially can tell you what happened in every corner of the parish for the last 200 years. Even if the two boys did discover a previously unknown burial ground one of them is quoted as saying there were twenty bodies in it not the hundreds claimed in some articles.

    Thanks for the link. Reading the extracts from the reports I'm even more amazed that only 800 children are believed to have died here. 27 children died in one measles outbreak alone. Despite what should have been a damning report, I was amused to read the summary in one instance;

    "the care given to infants in the Home is good, the Sisters are careful and attentive; diets are excellent. It is not here that we must look for cause of the death rate".
  9. meerkatz

    meerkatz On ROPs

    Actual deaths were not the only 'losses'.
    There is a huge scandal in the wings when the full accounting of the Churches baby selling industry is finally exposed.
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  10. Already been referenced earlier in the thread and gets a mention in one of the newspaper articles.

    It seems the church couldn't do right for doing wrong. Find adoptive parents for children and they're selling babies, hang on to them and they're running a death camp.
  11. If it was NI, when wasn't there a war on?
  12. Feel free to be surprised then. I have seen nothing that indicates anyone knew about the bodies being there until 1975.

    The boys lifted one slab and saw into one chamber. The recent excavation showed that there are 20 chambers in the tank and there are remains in at least 17 of them.

    That quote is from the same report that said the children were malnourished so it all seems a bit strange without seeing the whole report. Compare the death rates from that article with ones for the rest of the country in the graph Meerkatz posted. The kids in the home were dying at 3 times the rate other kids were in the same period.
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  13. Blind eye where required or they didn't want to know about what those "shameful sinners" we're doing.

    Plus the Church was above question
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  14. It is if they are receiving money for it, the mothers haven't given consent and the mother and/or are effectively prisoners with zero rights.
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