Survivors of institutions for unmarried mothers and their babies have called for an urgent meeting with the Taoiseach over demands to extend an inquiry into deaths in the homes.
A commission set up to
investigate alleged abuse at one Catholic Church facility in Tuam, Co
Galway has excavated part of a burial site and found a "significant"
quantity of human remains in "underground chambers".
Coalition of Mother And Baby Home Survivors said it wants all living
people who passed through that home or any of the other facilities to be
included in a statutory investigation.
deeply unfair and hurtful to our community that so many of our fellow
survivors have been omitted from the inquiry," a spokesman said.
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."
Enda Kenny said the initial findings from the Mother and Baby Home
Commission of Investigation into Tuam were appalling.
He said Children's Minister Katherine Zappone was liaising with head of the inquiry and it would be extended if necessary.
The commission was set up two years ago to probe state sanctioned, religious-run institutions used to house pregnant mothers.
was charged with investigating high mortality rates in the homes across
several decades of the 20th century, the burial practices at these
sites and also secret and illegal adoptions and vaccine trials on
It is thought about 35,000 unmarried mothers spent time in one of 10 homes run by religious orders in Ireland.
inquiry was ordered after national and international focus on the story
of the Sisters of the Bon Secours in Tuam, where the remains of 796
infants are believed to be buried.
The commission excavated
in at least 17 of 20 underground chambers and found remains of
individuals with age-at-death ranges from approximately 35 foetal weeks
to two to three years.
The Tuam home operated from 1925 to 1961.
Three other institutions have little angels plots believed to hold the remains of another 3,200 babies and infants.
are Sean Ross Abbey, Tipperary, where the story of Philomena Lee began,
Bessborough, Co Cork, and Castlepollard, Co Westmeath.
from Pelletstown, or Saint Patrick's on the Navan Road in Dublin were
buried in plots in Glasnevin and hundreds from the Bethany Home in
Rathgar, Dublin were traced to a plot in Mount Jerome cemetery.
Infant mortality rates ranged from 30-50% in some of the homes in the 1930s and 1940s.
Bessborough, which was still operating as recently as 1996, had an infant mortality rate of 68% in 1944.
Coalition Of Mother And Baby Home Survivors said its research estimates
at least 6,000 babies, children and mothers died in the state's homes
during the 20th century.
"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," the spokesman said.
have sadly witnessed many of our active members pass away without ever
seeing a personal resolution to their many years of often heartbreaking
"In this instance, justice delayed is justice permanently denied."
A local coroner has been notified of the findings in Tuam.
has not been confirmed whether intact DNA can be recovered from the
remains and used to identify and trace relatives of the babies who died.