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Discovery of human remains at Tuam Mother and Baby Home site "deeply shocking" - Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

3 March, 2017 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Children, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has expressed his deep sadness and dismay at the shocking discovery of human remains at the Mother and Baby home in Tuam.

Deputy Ó Laoghaire said;

“A statement made by the Commission of investigation this morning outlines that excavations carried out early this year, has led to further human remains being found at Tuam. These are the bodies of children and babies, aged up to 3 years.”

“It appears that they were buried in a large decommissioned septic tank, and also a structure that appears to have also been related to sewage and waste water. Human remains were found in 17 of the 20 chambers in this structure, and appear to be from the time of the mother and baby homes.”

“This is a deeply shocking and sad revelation. It is a cause of national shame. The babies and children were unceremoniously buried here, without anything to identify them, without any recognition, buried, essentially in a Septic Tank.

“In death, as in life, they were left to be forgotten, and hidden away from sight of the Irish people. The most vulnerable in society, children without mothers, and it is in these dreadful circumstances that they have been laid to rest. An indictment of the Ireland of the time, and we must face up to this shameful period in our history.”

“There are many questions now, as to how this was allowed to happen, who these children and babies were, and how this corresponds to the records of children who died in the home in this period, as recorded by Local Historian Catherine Corless.”

“Crucially we also need to know who was responsible for the disposal of human remains in this callous way.”

“It is important to recognise those who pursued the truth on this issue, in particular, but not limited to Catherine Corless, and the survivors of the mother and baby homes, who continued the fight for truth at considerable cost. Their efforts have been vindicated.”

“Tragically, Tuam may not be an isolated case. We don’t know how many mass graves might exist. Dozens of these homes operated in Ireland from the late 1800s up to the 1970s, and there are also the County Homes, not all of which were included in the terms of reference of the Commissions 

 “I am calling on the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs to invite the Chair of the Commission of Investigation in to the Mother and Baby Homes, Judge Yvonne Murphy, to address this matter, and if there is any need to investigate further sites, and whether there is a need for the terms of reference of the Commission to be revised in any way.

“There may as yet be outstanding plots, at Tuam, or elsewhere, which require investigation, and I would urge the Commission to investigate these locations fully.

“Finally, I want to express the hope, that perhaps finally, the state can find some way to memorialise these poor children, in a sensitive manner that gives them respect, and dignity.”

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