Zappone appointed human rights expert and Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Professor Geoffrey Shannon, to examine these issues and to report to her on his findings. On 23 October , Minister Zappone announced that the Government had approved her recommendation for full forensic excavation of the available site. The approach taken will involve what is known as "Humanitarian Forensic Action" and will include:.
Zappone said "I am committed to ensuring that all the children interred at this site can have a dignified and respectful burial", and that "this comprehensive and scientific approach provides us with the best opportunity to address the many deeply personal questions to which former residents and their families need answers. Catherine Corless said that the full excavation and DNA testing announced was everything that they had been campaigning for.
The Tuam Babies Family Group welcomed the announcement, saying "This is an exceptionally important decision and will pave the way for all the other mother and baby homes, and the lost children of Ireland. We hope this decision will bring peace to the families of these children. Zappone stated that this contribution was not a settlement or an indemnity.
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In December , the Taoiseach announced that legislation would be required to enable the full excavation to proceed. The required legislation is expected to be passed in the first half of , with procurement of specialist services and planning going ahead at the same time, with the excavations then proceeding in the latter half of Taoiseach Varadkar said "We've never really done this before in Ireland, on this scale, so we've a lot to set up, a lot to learn before we do it.
We're not entirely sure what we're getting into, but as a Government we're convinced this is the right thing to do, to remove the remains and to give those children a proper decent burial they didn't get. Christina Noble spoke at the launch. The book covers the story of Bridget Dolan, whose two baby boys died while in the care of Bons Secours nuns.
O'Reilly wrote the book after being approached by Anna Corrigan, Dolan's daughter, following her discovery that she had two brothers that she knew nothing about. He died on Wednesday, 11 June He was described in an April inspection report as "a miserable, emaciated child with voracious appetite and no control over bodily functions, probably mentally defective". His death certificate, two months later, calls him "a congenital idiot". Corrigan then discovered she had a second brother in the Tuam home.
John's younger brother, William Joseph, was born healthy on Sunday, 21 May William is registered as having died in the Tuam Home on Saturday, 3 February but no cause of death is given. The record of William's date of birth was altered to Saturday, 20 April , a common practice with babies trafficked abroad for adoption. The book contains additionally previously unpublished material, including a chapter, "Snapshots of stolen Lives", about survivors from other homes who have never told their stories before, and a report obtained under a Freedom of Information request by State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy , detailing her visit to the excavations then taking place on the Tuam site on 5 October The home's original septic tank, along with a more recent 'brickbuilt structure' consisting of two chambers, were discovered.
Professor Cassidy wrote: "I was informed that bones, believed to be infant remains, had been found out with the original septic tank during the excavation. The remains did not appear to have been carefully laid out, and had been deposited unceremoniously in the tank. There were identifiable skulls and long bones. On 30 October , journalist and author Alison O'Reilly, who first broke the story of the Tuam Babies in , became the first Irish journalist to be awarded the Gold Medal of Honorary Patronage from Trinity Philosophical Society for her work in uncovering the story of the home, along with Anna Corrigan who also helped expose the story.
It is important and I will write to you in detail. I thanked her to the point that this had touched my heart. A march from Tuam town hall to the Bon Secours site and a subsequent vigil were attended by over 1, people Sunday 26 August , timed to coincide with a mass being celebrated by Pope Francis in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, during his visit to Ireland. The names of the dead were read out and a sculpture in memory of the dead was unveiled. Catherine Corless had been invited to attend a state reception for the pope by the office of the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar , but she declined the invitation, saying "I had to take a stand with the babies.
We have asked the Church to meet with survivors and to talk to us about the babies in the sewage tank. We have asked the Bon Secours sisters to give us some record, to come to Tuam, to help the survivors; to talk to them. For the last four years none of the priests or the Archbishop of Tuam indeed would entertain us. She stated that her request had not been answered. In December , the Sunday Independent published excerpts from a letter from Pope Francis replying to Katherine Zappone's letter, which it interpreted as putting pressure on religious orders to accept responsibility for the treatment of children who died in mother and baby homes.
The Pope wrote "I pray in particular that efforts made by the Government and by local churches and religious congregations will help face, responsibly, this tragic chapter in Ireland's history. On the International Day of the Disappeared 30 August , Liam Herrick, Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties , called for an investigation into the Bon Secours home and related issues such as the Magdalene Laundries and forced and illegal adoptions, saying Ireland had several questions to answer on enforced disappearances and what happened to unmarried mothers and their children throughout the 20th century.
He said that: "When we look at Tuam, we're talking here about the obligations of the State to take all measures possible to identify the children who died in Tuam. And then to, where possible, return the remains to the families. We also are talking about a full public investigation into the circumstances of what happened at Tuam and steps being taken to guarantee that nothing of this nature could ever happen in another Irish institution in the future.
Some Tuam residents have now called for an investigation into the town's Grove Hospital, which had also been run by the Bon Secours order.
A number of people have claimed their children or siblings were buried on the site from the s right up until the late s, although the order denies that there was a graveyard on the site. Galway County Council has stipulated that an archaeologist must monitor excavation work on the site in order to preserve any remains which may be buried there.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. See also: Pope Francis's visit to Ireland. Ireland portal. Connacht Tribune. Retrieved 7 June Irish Examiner.
Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home - Wikipedia
Retrieved 6 June The Irish Times. Retrieved 31 March Retrieved 9 June Sunday Independent. Retrieved 27 August Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation.
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Retrieved 6 March Retrieved 21 March Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 19 July Retrieved 3 April Galway" PDF. Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Retrieved 7 January The Washington Post. The Tuam Herald 2 ed.
Commission report answers some questions on Tuam and raises others
NUI Maynooth. Retrieved 27 March Civil war in Connacht, Cork: Mercier. Journal of the Old Tuam Society. Children's Home Graveyard Committee. Archived from the original PDF on 26 January May Submission to the Inter-departmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalene Laundries. Archived from the original PDF on 17 October Women's History Review.
Central Statistics Office. February Retrieved 20 March The Tuam Herald. Irish Independent. Within the last 18 months, six children from the Tuam Children's Home have been adopted by families in the U. Most of the applications have come from clergymen in America on behalf of childless couples. The majority of the applicants are of Irish descent.
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Tuam Herald. The New York Times subscription required. The Guardian. Galway Advertiser. Retrieved 9 March The site had previously been considered a graveyard for unbaptised babies or Famine victims. However, in two boys had been playing when they discovered partially broken concrete slabs covering a disused septic tank which was found to contain bones. Retrieved 1 June My Name Is Bridget.
The Lost Children of Tuam
Irish Central. Retrieved 18 December Even before then, Ireland was aware of the internationally agreed norms expected of it in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Any such process must have — or be quickly followed by a process with — the necessary hallmarks of independence, effectiveness and transparency. States have an obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the right of victims of human rights violations to an effective remedy.
This obligation includes three elements:. The children whose remains have been unearthed in Tuam lived and died during the time in which the international human rights legal framework emerged. If the home closed in , it is possible that some of the deaths occurred after the European Convention on Human Rights came into force. Also many norms such as the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment were considered binding on all States as customary law and peremptory norms.
Such norms were therefore applicable in cases of children resident in institutions in periods pre-dating the ECHR and other human rights conventions. It also paid the salaries for the chaplain and the medical officer, and for the services of the maternity nurse, as well as a capitation rate to the Sisters for the upkeep of the residents. The Galway Board of Health, which made many of the decisions relating to the Home between and was composed of members of Galway County Council. A sub-committee of that group, the County Home and Home Assistance Committee , also had a role, and several non-council members sat on it.
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Both these groups held a number of their meetings in the home itself. Minutes from the Galway Board of Health contain a number of references to coffins being tendered - without specific reference to burials, or the coffins being purchased. The cost of the large coffins was questioned a number of times.
The commission found that because Tuam was owned by the local authority, general rules on burial grounds should have applied - including a legal requirement to keep a register of burials. An engineer sent to investigate found no evidence of bones being exposed. There is a suggestion that this complaint was one of many about the site. Technical reports were provided to the Council in the summer of , and it did not respond.
County Council employees would have been in the grounds of the Home quite frequently as they carried out repairs to the building and possibly also maintained the grounds.