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Tuam: The dead can never rest so long as the living are haunted

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I don’t live on top of a mass grave.

I don’t know what it’s like to look out at my lawn and think that under it might be 796 dead babies lying in a disused septic tank. I don’t know what it’s like to see in the paper, something we perhaps always knew and pretended we didn’t know.

I don’t know what it’s like to have my home town become suddenly a global by-word for evil.

Last week came news that a majority of people living near the site of the former Tuam mother and baby home would prefer the whole thing to just go away. This was part of the findings of a public consultation established by Galway County Council. 87% of Tuam residents who expressed a preference, favour the erection of a memorial there, and any remains on the site to remain undisturbed.

On the other hand, 89% of relatives of children who lived in the home are demanding a full excavation.

I’m pressed for space, so I’ll have to leave it here that Galway County Council actually set up a public consultation process to ask people who live on top of a mass grave, what they think should be done with that mass grave. Commemoration via popular ballot. X marks the atrocity. Tuam’s Got Babies.

If you haven’t heard of the Tuam Babies scandal, you’re very welcome to Earth. Apologies for the state of the place. I’ve been writing about Tuam pretty much from the beginning. Shorthand version, Alison O’Reilly broke the story in the Irish Mail on Sunday on May 25, 2014. The headline was “A MASS GRAVE OF 800 BABIES”.

Anna Corrigan spent years searching for her (older) baby brothers, John and William Dolan. A Garda put Anna in touch with Catherine Corless, a Tuam-based historian, and the rest is literally, history.

Thanks to Catherine Corless, we now have the death certificates of 796 babies who died in the Tuam home between 1925 and 1960, but we do not have records of their burials. In 2013, Sister Marie Ryan of the Bon Secours order told Anna........

© The Avondhu