Children and Youth Affairs

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Statement from the Coalition of Mother And Baby home Survivors

  

IT IS TIME FOR IRELAND TO FINALLY DEAL WITH

THE REALITY AND LEGACY OF IT’S TREATMENT OF  SINGLE MOTHERS AND THEIR BABIES

SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE STATE 

SURVIVOR COMMUNITY DEMAND ACTION INSTEAD OF WORDS

 

Now that the work of historian and heroic campaigner Catherine Corless has been vindicated in the eyes of the world, it is time for immediate action on the part of the Government to meet with the survivor representatives to resolve the serious outstanding issues faced by our ageing and overwhelmingly elderly community. We have sadly witnessed many of our active members pass away without ever seeing a personal resolution to their many years of often heartbreaking campaigning work. In this instance, justice delayed is justice permanently denied.The Coalition of Mother And Baby home Survivors have contacted the Taoiseach’s office to request that Enda Kenny immediately meet with representatives of the survivor community to resolve the outstanding issues facing elderly, and dying Irish citizens, who have been through enough in their lives and who need acknowledgement and some substantive movement by the Government before it too late for them.

All of our community universally acknowledges and salutes the trojan work of Catherine Corless over many years. Others needed proof but we never doubted Catherine for a minute. We trust that now that it is shown that Tuam, the 5th biggest of the 9 Mother and Baby homes, did indeed see 796 infants and children die over it’s lifetime, that Ireland acknowledge the real scale of the horror of Mother and Baby homes. CMABS have attached a Fact Sheet to this email with confirmed deaths and conservative estimates of yet unknown numbers of babies who died from neglect and indifference. It is absolutely clear that, and CMABS would like to stress that this is a conservative estimate, at least 6,000 babies, children and mothers died in Ireland’s now globally notorious Mother and Baby homes.

The attached Fact Sheet reveals the newly researched, registered deaths that occurred in Castlepollard Mother and Baby home as well as the first release of any figures for Stillbirths in any of the M&B homes. These forgotten babies who never drew breath have previously been overlooked but they deserve the same attention and sorrow as any other human being. These tragic infants were as deserving of life as any other survivor and must not be forgotten. They are our crib mates and our community will not forget them.

CMABS primary goal is the Full Inclusion of all living survivors in the current Commission of Inquiry. It is deeply unfair and hurtful to our community that so many of our fellow survivors have been omitted from the Inquiry. The real issue here is Ireland’s treatment of single mothers and their babies, not what happened to some of them behind the High Walls of the Mother and Baby homes. There cannot be a hierarchy of survivors, we are all equal and we need immediate FULL INCLUSION for all survivors.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, we await your urgent response…

CMABS & friends

ENDS

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Press Release from the Coalition of Mother and Baby Homes Survivors
The Survivor Community is not shocked by the latest news that hundreds of bodies of babies and children have been “discovered” at the site of the former Mother and Baby home at Tuam. This is something we have known for many years. What is shocking is that once again we have to learn of this news via the media. The communications skills of the Minister and the Commission of Inquiry leave a lot to be desired when it comes to informing the Survivor Community of developments.

Tuam must not be seen in isolation. It was the fifth biggest of the 9 so called “Mother and Baby Homes” and it is the tip of the iceberg for deaths which amount to at least 6,000 babies and children across the 9 homes”. There are over 227 confirmed deaths in the notorious Bethany Home in Dublin and recent research has revealed the names of over 200 babies and children buried in the Angel’s Plot at Castlepollard Mother and Baby home ranging from a few hours old to over 2 years. There were also at least 77 confirmed Stillbirths in Castlepollard above and beyond the 200 registered deaths. There will be hundreds of unregistered Stillbirths discovered in Tuam too above and beyond the 800 registered deaths. The worst is yet to come as details of the huge behemoths of Saint Patrick’s, Bessboro and Sean Ross Abbey have yet to be revealed but it is likely that the total for these three “homes” alone will be well over 4,000 babies and children buried in shoeboxes and rags.

Our Community is divided about the issue of excavations and exhumations. Many are adamant that all the babies must be exhumed, identified and given proper burials. Others feel strongly that our former crib mates should be allowed to Rest In Peace. There are no easy answers and some survivors will be horrified no matter what happens. Mutual respect and understanding must guide our community.

The Government, Minister Zappone and the Inquiry must consider living survivors and their needs before any further excavations are pursued behind our backs. Our community is ageing and has been viciously cut in two by the current official policy of excluding many survivors from the Inquiry. Survivors need to be heard instead of ignored; consulted instead of insulted; treated with respect instead of learning the latest developments via the media.

May our crib mates in all the Mother and Baby homes and Holding Centers, Rest In Peace.

Paul Redmond
Chairperson: Coalition of Mother and Baby home Survivors (CMABS)

Dáil Debates, Human Rights, Justice