Bessborough order claims it was ‘told destroy vaccine files’ in 2013

The order that ran the Bessborough mother and baby home has claimed it was instructed in 2013 to destroy “all documents” it held in relation to vaccine trials carried out on children.

The Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary made the claim via its solicitors in a letter to Tusla from January of this year which has been released under Freedom of Information.

It said the instruction was issued to it by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA) — which was examining the vaccine trials as part of a separate module until legal action halted the investigation.

In a statement, the CICA has said it issued “no such instruction” and nor would it do so.

The order made the claim in response to a letter sent by assistant principal social worker Pearl Doyle in August 2014 asking a series of questions in relation to material transferred by the Order to Tusla in 2011. The letter was sent as the Government was proposing setting up an investigation into mother and baby homes.

A total of 23 questions were posed concerning infant mortality, burials, financial records and vaccine records.

Ms Doyle asked the order where the “complete” list of vaccine records are. She also asked how children were chosen, whether the consent of the mother was obtained and, if so, where these consent forms are.

Responding via its solicitors five months later, the order said it had been instructed to destroy “all documents” relating to vaccine trials on the advice of the CICA. “The congregation handed over all records held to the HSE. The congregation were directed by the Commission of Inquiry into the Vaccine Trials in 2013 we believe to destroy all documents in their possession or under their control regarding the trials.”

However, the CICA has confirmed it issued “no such instruction”.


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