Barnardos sorry for posters at Tuam plot

Barnardos has apologised for “any upset caused” after leaflets advertising a support service funded by the Bon Secours Order were placed outside the Tuam babies plot.

Two posters were placed on a placard outside the site along with business cards advertising the phone number for the service.

The name “Josephine” was handwritten on the business cards.

Excavations at the site uncovered “significant quantities” of infant remains in March 2017. 

The Tuam Mother and Baby Home was operated by the Bon Secours Order and is one of the institutions under investigation by the Mother and Baby Homes Commission.

Barnardos apologised “for any upset caused” by the advertising but denied that its staff placed it there. Following a query from the Irish Examiner, the leaflets and business cards were removed.

“Barnardos St Mary’s Tuam Advice and Support Service did not post the leaflets/business cards in this location, but nonetheless apologise for any upset caused.

“The service has shared leaflets to a number of locations and groups in an effort to make sure people are aware of the service, and know how to avail of the supports it offers. Barnardos commits to removing the leaflets from this location as soon as possible,” said a statement.

The service offers a “confidential, professional helpline and email response” to people affected by the Tuam Mother and Baby Home.

It is available to others who gave birth to babies at the home and their family members, people who were born there and any member of the public who has a query about the institution.

The service is funded by the Sisters of Bon Secours Ireland, which ran the Tuam Mother and Baby Home.

Secretary of the Tuam Home Survivors Network, Breeda Murphy, criticised the entire concept of a counselling service for survivors being funded by the Order that ran the home.

“I don’t know what planet they were on when they thought up this one. With respect, if the minister, the Government and the Orders fail to see how absolutely inappropriate this is, then there is little hope of ever achieving justice,” said Ms Murphy.

“At our last network meeting of February 11, it was agreed not to place notification of this meaningless service on our website, we will not endorse it as Minister [Katherine] Zappone has done on her page, but rather highlight it for what it is — an empty gesture, designed only to disempower and disable survivors.”

The Mother and Baby Homes Commission has said it will be “difficult to establish the facts” surrounding the burials of children who died in all of the homes it is investigating.

In December, the expert technical group advising the Government about managing the Tuam site outlined five options for the Government. 

These range from doing no further investigative work to conducting a full forensic excavation and analysis of all human remains.


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