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Record of deaths in Bessborough and Sean Ross Mother & Baby Homes raise significant questions – Ó Laoghaire

7 March, 2017 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD


Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has raised concerns regarding the records which exist for the Children who died at both Bessborough and Sean Ross Mother and Baby Homes, as significant discrepancies and inconsistencies exist. He also expressed his shock at the sizeable numbers reported to have died by malnutrition in Bessborough.

The HSE was handed files in 2011 outlining the deaths of 800 children between both Bessborough Mother & Baby Home in Cork City and Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea. 

The Cork South-Central TD said:

“Files given to the HSE in 2011, which now appear to be in the possession of Túsla, raise further concerns about many children who have died in state care in these Homes. Not only for the number of deaths during the periods in question, and not only the manner in which they died, but also the significant gaps and disparities in the records.

“The register of deaths given to the HSE reflects that 273 deaths were recorded between 1939 and 1944. However, the Order reported 353 deaths to State inspectors in this period, which is a significant disparity, and raises some quite worrying questions; did deaths happen which were unreported to the authorities, or were false records created?

“Similarly, in the case of Sean Ross Abbey, the death register lists a total of 269 deaths between 1934 and 1967. However, according to today's media reports, some of those buried in the plot there are not listed on the register.

“It is also deeply shocking to learn that the main cause of death in the case of 20% of the deaths in Bessborough was marasmus or severe malnutrition. This raises enormous questions about the welfare of the children in these locations and the standard of living.

“This all lends further weight to the need to expand significantly the terms of reference of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, and it is for that reason that I have called upon Judge Yvonne Murphy, the chair of the Commission, to come before the Committee.

“All the revelations regarding Mother and Baby Homes since the weekend are sufficient evidence to suggest that the possibility of further excavations must be explored in an attempt to reveal the true nature of what happened to these children. There should be consultation and discussions with relatives and survivors groups. We all have an interest in arriving at the truth of what happened in these homes.”  

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