The “mother and baby home” in Tuam, Co. Galway, was one of many Irish institutions run by religious orders where unmarried women carrying “illegitimate” children were sent.
The remains of 796 infants and toddlers are believed to have been unceremoniously amassed for decades in unmarked graves in this single home. An Irish government enquiry last year admitted that many of the bodies at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home were even placed in disused septic.
When Corless broke the story in 2014, Irish Times journalist Rosita Boland, political spin-doctor Terry Prone and former intellectual Tom McGurk (among other assorted apologists for things as they are) all leapt forth to say that it was most unlikely that such a thing could possibly have happened. But it did. The home was operational between 1925 and 1961.
It’s believed some of the bodies may now be under houses built locally since the home closed.
I’m the local schoolmistress
who worked hard to know
the zilch I knew about this.
I’m the Department Inspector
the questions not to ask.
I’m the concerned citizen who never
heard their heavy clogs go,
by forced marches, up the Dublin Road.
I’m the editor of the Tuam Herald,
who talked instead about
the Pope’s visit.
I’m the Government Minister whose pink skull
baldly admired the particular yellow
of the roses by the newly whitewashed wall,
and thanked the nuns for their work.
I’m the County Councillor concerned
about the cost to the ratepayer
– per skeleton – of piling that many small ones
of whom no one had ever heard
into a disused hole in the ground
– one big concrete sarcophagus –
no one knew anything about.
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