Tuam Mother and Baby Home

  • An art installation inspired by the Tuam Mother & Baby Home will go on display this Friday at the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar.

    Katie Moore, a visual artist from Foxford, has created the installation, based on a conversation she had with historian Catherine Corless, before visiting the site of the former Mother & Baby Home in Tuam.

    Katie, who has cystic fibrosis, received an Arts & Disability bursary last year, and has used the award to create this installation called “Entropy”, which will be exhibited at the Linenhall Arts Centre from 4th May to the 2nd June.

  • The author of a new book about the Tuam Mother and Baby Home says time is running out for truth and justice.

    'My Name is Bridget' documents the life of one woman who entered the home in her twenties, in 1946.

    Journalist Alison O'Reilly says Bridget Dolan died without answers - and delays to the final report of the Commission of Investigation are unacceptable.

  • Minister for Children Katherine Zappone will bring proposals to cabinet about the prospects of identifying babies in a mass grave in a former religious-run institution in Tuam.

    This news has been confirmed by the Taoiseach, who said a report on the issue previously filed to the state did not say it was “impossible” to identify the nearly 800 remains at the former mother and baby home.

    Meanwhile, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs said a report from UCD and TCD scientists, which argues that DNA advances means that the remains can be identified, will be examined.

    Ms. Zappone told the Irish Times that she was very interested to see that other experts in the field of forensic archaeology and genetics have a different view to the experts she appointed.

    The Expert Technical Group which she had appointed will inform her of their opinion on the submission, and this would be part of her decision-making process she said.

  • Hundreds of babies buried in a mass grave in a former religious-run mother and babies’ home in Tuam, Co Galway can be identified because of major advances in DNA testing, a team of scientists have declared.

    According to today’s Irish Times, the University College Dublin-Trinity College team has challenged the findings of an expert group set up by Minister for Children Katherine Zappone, which cast doubts on hopes that DNA testing could identify remains.

    The expert technical group had highlighted difficulties with the exhumation and identification of the remains held in an underground chamber and an adjoining, disused septic tank, because remains are “commingled”.

    However, the UCD-TCD team, who are all experts in genomics, argued that the analysis “is viewed through the prism of a technology that is at least 20 years old”, traditionally used to build DNA banks for use in criminal cases.

    New techniques, including those used to identify the remains of the Easter 1916 rebel Thomas Kent in 2015, have “dramatically changed the genetics landscape” and would address many of the concerns outlined by the ETG report.

    In March 2017, the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation confirmed the discovery of juvenile human remains in “significant quantities” in the chambers at the former home run by Bon Secours nuns.

    The commission was set up in 2015 after historian Catherine Corless published research that revealed death certificates for 796 children at the Tuam home from 1925 to 1961 with no indication of where they had been buried.

    The submission to Galway County Council is written by four leading genomics experts.

    Disagreeing with the “pessimistic and guarded tone” adopted in the ETG report, the UCD/Trinity group said a small sample taken from a part of the base of the skull would yield good-quality DNA .

  • Tuam historian Catherine Corless has criticised the Government for failing to commit to excavation, exhumation, and DNA testing of the children’s remains found at the site of the former Tuam Mother and Baby Home.

    It’s now a year since the Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone confirmed that a substantial amount of children’s human remains had been discovered at the Tuam site.

    An expert group published its report in December outlining five possible options on how the situation should be handled.

    These ranged from no further investigate work at the site and that it be turned into a memorial, to exhuming the human remains and burying them elsewhere.

    A consultation process is now underway, and Galway County Council has arranged an independent facilitator to meet with locals in Tuam tomorrow and Friday as part of this process.

    Submissions can also be made online before 16th March, but historian Catherine Corless has objected to the voting system put in place by Galway County Council, where people can indicate their preferred option.

    Speaking to Midwest News, Catherine Corless said the least that should be done is that the children’s remains be exhumed and buried in a proper burial ground.

    She says it’s disappointing that so little has happened over the past year, despite the public outcry at the time.

  • Survivors and family members of the 800  ‘Tuam babies’ warned yesterday that the Irish authorities can expect public protests if they fail to carry out a full forensic excavation, exhumation, and DNA testing at the site of the former Mother and Baby Home in Co Galway.

    According to today’s Irish times, the survivors were given a special welcome at the seventh annual flower-laying ceremony to remember the women of the Magdalene Laundry in Galway City.

    The names of all of the former Magdalene Laundry detainees buried at Bohermore Cemetery were read out during the ceremony attended by former residents and members of their extended families.

    Campaigners on behalf of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home families said there were clear parallels between their search for justice and that of the survivors of the Magdalene Laundries and other institutions throughout the country.

    Some mothers from the Tuam home were incarcerated in the Galway city centre laundry after having their children taken from them.

    Confirmation that the bodies of babies were contained in a mass grave in Tuam, some at the site of a disused septic tank, generated headlines across the globe last year.

    But now campaigners are fearful that they will be denied justice, or full knowledge of what happened to the babies, on the basis of the cost involved.

    Galway County Council is currently seeking submissions from members of the public regarding what to do with the site.

    The deadline for submissions is this Thursday, March 16th.

    Campaigners are concerned that the local authority may decide to put a memorial in place at the site of the former septic tank rather than the more costly option of a thorough examination.

  • The failure of the Catholic Church to intervene in the controversy that continues over what should happen to the more than 800 infant remains, found buried in an unmarked grave in the grounds of the former Mothers and Babies Home in Tuam has been highlighted today by campaigner and historian Catherine Corless.

    Catherine was among a number of west of Ireland recipients last night of the 43rd annual Rehab National People of the Year Awards.

    She was recognised for her work in uncovering the secretive burials.

    Catherine took the opportunity last night, and again on Midwest News today, to highlight the need to have the remains exhumed and identified and buried in consecrated ground. She insists it would be part of the healing process for all of the families involved and said the only thing stopping a full exhumation is money.

     She said all of these children were baptised and she believes it's everyone's right to have a Christian burial and asked why the Church has not intervened in insisting for the same.

  • Tuam Home Survivors Network has issued a statement  saying the Report of the so-called ''Consultative process' on the future of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home site is worthless, designed to delay or prevent what clearly requires to be done.

    It says the report commissioned by Minister Zappone, carried out by Galway County Council and published on Friday last “seeks to further the myth that the Minister and Government in general has the power to decide the future of the mass grave at Tuam”.

    The statement continues

    “The only person or body which has jurisdiction over the site of the Tuam mass grave is the Coroner for North Galway.  The fact that Coroner has to date failed to convene an Inquest into the deaths of 796 children at the former Home, does not confer any powers on the Minister or Government to deal with the issue.

    Where the local Coroner either refuses or fails to act, the onus falls on the Attorney General, to appoint another Coroner pursuant to s24 of the Coroner's Act 1962.

    The Minister's actions to date have done nothing but delay the inevitable, by claiming for herself, powers she does not have. She continues to subvert not merely the wishes of survivors and their families, but to brush aside the obligations of the State by a means of a local 'popular vote' on the future of the site.

    To be clear, Tuam is a mass grave of almost 800 children. The only moral and legal way to deal with that reality is for an Inquest to be convened and a full excavation ordered, to allow as far as forensic science will permit, the causes of death in those children to be established.   The Minister's actions to date have done nothing but distract from and obstruct that process.