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800 Babies Buried in Septic Tank at Irish Home for Unmarried Mothers

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Words fail me.






Dublin (AFP) - Almost 800 babies and children were buried in a mass grave in Ireland near a home for unmarried mothers run by nuns, according to new research Wednesday which throws more light on the Irish Catholic Church's troubled past.


Death records suggest 796 children, from newborns to eight-year-olds, were deposited in a grave near a Catholic-run home for unmarried mothers during the 35 years it operated from 1925 to 1961.

Historian Catherine Corless, who made the discovery, says her study of death records for the St Mary's home in Tuam in County Galway suggests that a former septic tank near the home was a mass grave.

The septic tank, full to the brim with bones, was discovered in 1975 by locals when concrete slabs covering the tank broke up.

Until now, locals believed the bones mainly stemmed from the Great Irish famine of the 1840s when hundreds of thousands perished.

St Mary's, run by the Bons Secours Sisters, was one of several such 'mother and baby' homes in early 20th century Ireland.

Thousands of unmarried pregnant women -- labelled at the time as 'fallen women' -- were sent to the homes to have their babies.

The women were ostracised by the conservative-Catholic society and were often forced to hand over their children for adoption.

Health issues and problems associated with the homes have long been documented. As far back as 1944, a government inspection report of the Tuam home described some of the children as "fragile, pot-bellied and emaciated."

The recently discovered death records for St Mary's show the 796 children died from malnutrition and infectious diseases, such as measles and TB.

Conservative Catholic teaching at the time denied children of unmarried parents baptism and therefore burial in consecrated lands.

The home was knocked down many years ago to make way for new houses, but the area around the unmarked mass grave has been maintained by locals.

A fundraising committee has now been formed and it is hoped that a memorial will be built with all the names and ages of the children displayed.

The Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary said he would meet leaders of the Bons Secours Sisters to assist with the memorial.

Meanwhile, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said that if a public inquiry into the 'mother and baby' homes in Ireland was not established then a social history project was necessary.

Martin also said he supports "excavating what may be unmarked graves" at these sites.

A junior government minister has called for an inquiry to be established and the issue is expected to be discussed at cabinet.

The development is a yet another damning disclosure of a Church-run institution in Ireland following almost countless revelations of abuse and neglect at Catholic-run schools or institutions in recent decades.

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Same with the residential schools here in Canada. The catholics ran a lot of these schools and were responsible for a lot of child deaths. My father, part native himself told me that a lot of my cousins and relatives went to one in the area where he lives. He would only say that a lot of bad things happened there and that the nuns buried a lot of children. Another aunt, from the other side of the family was forced to go to one of these schools and she said that she toured through the school a few years ago and it still left her with haunting feelings. She said that a lot of terrible things happened there and a lot of children didn't survive those years. Funny thing is neither one of them will talk much more than that.

I hate that church. She has so much to answer for. Disgusting, rotten putrid right to the core. If the world only knew what sickening secrets she holds. I can't wait for the day when she answers to Jehovah for her sins. They truly have reached him in the heavens. And that is just one aspect of false religion. Imagine what the combined sins of Babylon the great has done.

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My cousin on my Dad's side has been trying to trace our Grandmother's family. Her Mother became destitute after her husband died of pneumonia before the First World War. She had to work to live and her eldest daughter - my grandmother - along with her mother, became a house-servants after a spell in one of Britain's  harsh 'workhouses' (they've all been closed down for decades now ). Her 2 little brothers ended up in the children's home - Barnardo's. They were sent, as children, with hundreds of other children in other church-backed children's homes, to the Colonies in Australia and Canada as hard labour on ranches/farms. We traced them to Canada on ship manifests and then to a Barnardo's office to be assigned somewhere and after which they are no longer there and they just disappeared off records.


My cousin has contacted a man in Canada who says he has been trying for years to trace records as to what happened to such 'Home Children' as they are called, but warns us not to get our hopes up if records have petered out. Having read the history of what happened to many of these children, we are not hopeful.Many ended up in the middle of no where - wilderness ranches, no help, no medical assistance, no proper clothes for the weather there, not used to the environment and many died of exposure or overwork; exhaustion, beatings, starvation or disease. they were expendable as more were sent for many years to replace them, without anyone being informed as to how the previous consignment fared. 


Thank goodness for the resurrection hope to 'the real life' - these poor little souls born into merciless or thoughtless societies, didn't stand a chance in this human-ruled World.

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I saw an article stating that they were launching a full investigation into this situation. I wonder if this will cause another UN committee to confront the Catholic Church again...I think this is extremely sad to know that these innocent babies were treated so badly. You are right they really had no chance. Jehovah will set things straight for them soon though.

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This news seems to have been 'buried' under the weight of so much news about FIFA and Football on the TV news.


However, it has been extensively covered on the BBC Radio 4 News. I hope they do investigate the other similar institutions environs to see what is in their 'septic tanks' and grounds.


How they could think hundreds of bones were from the Irish famine of the nineteenth century when they were packed into a 20th century concrete sewerage tank/septic tank (because such children in the church's eyes did not merit a 'decent burial')??


It also emerged on the radio news that not only were they dying of or with malnutrition or disease exacerbated by malnutrition, but these homes had also allowed the children to be subjects for medical experimentation. Many already weakened children were subject for instance to injections to test different vaccinations - had they succumbed also because of this?

Edited by retroHelen
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This wholevworld stinks Worse, then a septic tank ! It makes me sick too, to read and hear of all these atrossities of innocents .My stomach has had it ! So evil these nuns were. And to the public they were concidered such gods angels....

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It seems a bit hypocritical of church institutions that are so strongly against abortion and contraception in Ireland - as if they are  so 'pro-life' in the extreme -  and then their institutions treat children in their supposed 'care' this way.


This scandal on top of what we have already read about/seen in documentaries has been discovered happening in Spain for decades that the UN had to invtervene with as well:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2049647/BBC-documentary-exposes-50-year-scandal-baby-trafficking-Catholic-church-Spain.html

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