Three religious orders willing to be involved in redress talks

Three religious orders willing to be involved in redress talks

Artworks at the grotto on an unmarked mass grave at the site of the Tuam mother and baby home run by the Bon Secures sister. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Three of the religious groups who feature in the report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation say they are willing to be involved in redress talks

The Sisters of Bon Secours order of nuns, who ran St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home in Tuam from 1925 to 1961, have said they will “participate” in a future mother and baby homes redress scheme.

Confirmation that they will do this follows on from their detailed apology on Wednesday morning.

And the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, who ran Bessborough, Castlepollard, and Sean Ross Abbey mother and baby homes, say they are considering it.

“We would deal directly with the minister on any such matter,” their spokesperson said.

The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd (Good Shepherd Sisters) said the same.

“We will deal directly with the Government,” they said.

The Government announced on Tuesday that it is going to set up a “restorative recognition scheme” for survivors.

As part of that, a form of enhanced medical card will be provided to everyone who was resident in a mother and baby home or county home for longer than six months.

The Government also said it is committed to providing “a bespoke ex-gratia restorative recognition scheme” to provide financial recognition to “specific groups identified by the Commission of Investigation”.

Who this applies to will be decided, initially, by an inter-departmental group.

In their apology, the Bon Secours nuns admitted they “did not live up to [their] Christianity” when running the Home in Tuam and “failed to respect the inherent dignity of the women and children” in it.

Tuam-based historian Catherine Corless, whose research established that 796 children were buried in a septic tank at the home, was stunned when she heard about the apology.

“I couldn’t believe my ears when I first heard the wording of the apology,” she said.

“I was amazed because it was the first time I’ve ever heard them not only acknowledge the disrespectful way babies were buried, but to also offer such a fulsome apology.

"We have not heard directly from them since the story broke about the graves in Tuam broke in 2014."

In their own apology, the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary said: "We want to sincerely apologise to those who did not get the care and support they needed and deserved.

"It is a matter of great sorrow to us that babies died while under our care."

This article originally had the headline "Three religious orders say they will be involved in redress". However, it has been changed to reflect that only one, the Sisters of Bon Secours order of nuns, has said it will participate in a redress scheme. The other two have only said they will speak to the Government about such a scheme.

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