Child’s burial details not in report

Child’s burial details not in report

The burial of a young girl in a paupers grave in a Cork city cemetery in 1989 is not cited among just 64 burials found for the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home in a recent report.

The long-running inquiry published its final interim report in April and revealed that despite “very extensive inquiries and searches”, it could only establish the burial place of 64 of the 900 children that died in Bessborough or in hospital after being transferred from the institution.

However, the burial details of at least one Bessborough child — who died in 1989 and is buried in a non-perpetuity plot in St Finbarr’s Cemetery in Cork City — is not cited among the 64 burials outlined in the report.

The Commission investigation outlined details of two plots it discovered in St Finbarr’s Cemetery — one relating to the St Anne’s Adoption Society and the second belonging to the former St Patrick’s Orphanage run by the Mercy Sisters and which was bequeathed to the adoption society in the 1950s. 

The plots contain the remains of a total of 20 children — four of which had an association with Bessborough.

The existence of both these plots was revealed by an Irish Examiner investigation in February 2018. However, details of a child buried in a third plot in the cemetery in 1989 are omitted from the Commission’s report.

The non-perpetuity plot or paupers grave contains the remains of at least one baby girl with an association to Bessborough.

The death certificate states her death occurred at St Finbarr’s Hospital in 1989 but that she was in the care of “c/o Sacred Heart Hospital, Blackrock, Cork” — the address of the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home.

It is unclear if any other children with a connection to the institution are buried in this plot.

However, despite this information being in the public domain, the Commission’s burial report fails to reference this plot or this child.

The Irish Examiner raised this omission with the Commission following publication of the report and was told that it could not be checked “as the researcher with the detailed knowledge is out of the office carrying out further research” and would not be back until the following week.

In response to follow-up queries on the issue, the Commission said: “The answers to all of your questions will have to await the publication of our final report”.

It comes as survivors of the Bethany Home institution called on the Commission to release the details of additional burials it has found in relation to children who died in the care of the institution so they can be compared with the group’s own research and added to the Bethany memorial.

The Bethany Home Survivors group has also taken issue with a number of sections of the report, including the omission of 71 children identified as having died after transfer from the institution and an apparent mistake in stating the ages of the two oldest Bethany children buried in Mount Jerome at 19 and 36 months instead of 48 and 36 months.

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