Baby deaths must be addressed

May I take this opportunity of drawing to the Taoiseach’s attention, that given the recent deluge of information which is emerging with reference to the Mother and Baby Home at Tuam, Co. Galway, it is becoming imperative that the Government finally takes action to face up to this shocking episode in the history of the State.

Baby deaths must be addressed

Dr Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, has agreed that an inquiry should now take place in relation to the deaths and the management of the institution. Likewise, Dr Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin has repeatedly called for an inquiry into the deaths and management of the Bethany Home, Orwell Road, Dublin. Indeed, during face-to-face meetings with you Taoiseach, Dr Jackson has requested such action. Dr Jackson is on record as stating that: “there needs to be a conversation between the churches and the State about redress or compensation for the Bethany survivors”.

I have been working with the Bethany Survivors and on behalf of Derek Leinster, due to a FOI request, we have uncovered the fact that in 2005 Mother and Baby Homes and other institutions were deemed by the then Minister for Education and the Redress Unit as being eligible for inclusion on the Schedule of the Redress Act 2002, the Minister accepted that there was evidence of abuse, and while the Minister and the Redress Unit emphatically stated such institutions eligible, they decided that there was “no evidence of systematic or widespread abuse of children in those institutions“, so they decided to leave them out of the schedule.

How very wrong they have been proved to be, such “institutions” included the Mother and Children’s Homes at Bessborough, and the Castlepollard Home of Philomena fame. They piled on further injustice, by including institutions on the schedule, for which there was no evidence of any abuse whatsoever. As survivors, we hold these documentary facts.

There is still a chapter to be ‘created’ within this narrative, and it concerns all of the Mother and Baby Homes in Ireland, as Taoiseach, you still have the opportunity to write this chapter, and to take some pride in doing so.

Other institutions which the Minister for Education deemed as “eligible” for inclusion on the schedule, but which she decided to keep off due to lack of “evidence of systematic or widespread abuse of children” include: Bessborough House, Cork; Children’s Sunshine Home Fairy Hill Convalescent Home, Terenure; Manor House Castlepollard; Regina Corli Hostel Dublin; Sarsfield House, Inchicore; St Patrick’s Hospital, Fermoy, Co. Cork; St Mary’s Orthopaedic Hospital, Cork; St Michael’s Centre, Ferrybank, Waterford; Cualain Residential Home, Pottery Road County Home, Thurles, Co Tipperary.

Victor Stevenson

Bethany Survivors Group

Bangor

Co Down

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