Survivors of the Tuam mother and baby home have said the only way the causes of death of the children who died in the institution can be established is by holding inquests for every child.
The Tuam Home Survivors Network was reacting to the publication of the fifth interim report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission which focused on burial practices at Ireland’s main mother and baby homes.
In a statement, the group said there can be no closure in the Tuam story without establishing the cause of death of the babies who died at the institution and that this can only be achieved through inquests.
“The commission says it will deal with the ‘causes of death’ in a 2020 report,” said the group in its statement. “The causes of death of the Tuam children can only be established by an inquest. Nothing else is acceptable or possible in law. We will not add our names to those who have betrayed the dead children of Tuam.”
It said that the “full horror of Tuam is not yet exposed” and that it could not accept the commission’s view there was “very little basis for the theory that the children concerned did not die but were ‘sold’ to America”.
The group said there was no certainty all children registered as having died did so at the time the deaths were registered.
Mari Steed of the Bessborough Mother and Baby group, an online contact and peer-support resource for those born or adopted in the institution, said a full geophysical examination of the grounds needs to be done.
It said that the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary which operated the institution “must be held accountable for violating the rights of individuals in their ‘care’ — including those deceased”.
The Irish First Mothers group also called for a full geophysical examination of the grounds and said the religious order should face questioning from gardaí.