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  • News

Tuam babies were not 'sold' to USA

Wednesday, 17th April, 2019 10:20am

Story by Siobhan Holliman
Tuam babies were not 'sold' to USA

The preliminary scan at the Tuam Home site.

Tuam babies were not 'sold' to USA

The preliminary scan at the Tuam Home site.

THERE is little basis for the theory that infants who were recorded as dying at the former Tuam Mother and Baby Home were ‘sold’ to America, according to the latest report from the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.

The fifth interim report was published this morning (Wednesday) by Minister for Children Katherine Zappone who, along with the Commission, has called on anyone with further information in relation to the Tuam home and burial site to come forward.

The report makes several findings in relation to the burials at the site on the Dublin Road in Tuam.

Research by local historian Catherine Corless found death certificates for 796 babies and infants but there was no record of their burial.

The Commission states that it’s clear that many of the children who died in the home run by the Bon Secours Sisters are buried in the underground chambers.

A previous partial excavation at the site revealed that a significant number of human remains are in these chambers.

The report states that these chambers were not a recognised burial ground or purpose-built burial chamber and that it did not provide for the dignified interment of human remains.

The Commission concludes that there is little basis for the theory that rather than having died, the children were ‘sold’ to America.

The report makes no specific recommendations but calls on anyone who may have information relating to the Tuam site to come forward and speak with them.

Minister Zappone stated, “I would like to endorse this request by the Commission and would strongly encourage anyone with any information relating to the Commission’s terms of reference to contact them immediately.”

Excavation works at the former home site are expected to begin later this year and attempts are to be made to identify remains through DNA. New legislation must be passed before this can happen.

The government is also considering taking DNA samples from former residents and relatives who because of their age and health are concerned at delays in the process.

The Commission has submitted this interim report to assist Government in implementing its agreed course of action to manage the juvenile remains interred at the Tuam site.

The Commission has stated that it will include an analysis of the causes of deaths and the registration of deaths in its final report, which is due by February 2020.

“The publication of this report is a significant milestone in the work of this Commission. I am once again reassured that the Commission will not shy away from asking the necessary questions without fear or favour and will shine a light on this dark period in our history,” remarked Minister Zappone.

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