Mother and baby home survivors 'very hurt' by Taoiseach's comments

Local historian Catherine Corless at the site of a mass grave for children who died in the Tuam mother and baby home. Photo: PA
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Vivienne Clarke

Historian and campaigner Catherine Corless has said mother and baby home survivors were very hurt by Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s comments on Tuesday.

Ms Corless told Newstalk Breakfast that a broader apology was needed, highlighting the role of the Church and State in the institutions rather than putting so much weight on the role of society in general.

She said: “He specifically pointed out society in general, and the parents and grandparents of these survivors. They were very, very hurt over that. They all have their own stories. They gave their own stories, like how it was impossible for their mothers to stay in the village because of the Church and the attitudes they created at the time.”

Mother and baby homes produced high levels of infant mortality, misogyny and stigmatisation of some of society’s most vulnerable, an independent report published on Tuesday said.


Many of the homes were run by Catholic nuns.

The commission of investigation report found “appalling” levels of death among the very youngest, more than one in 10 of children present.

Mr Martin is to deliver a public apology on behalf of the State in the Dáil later on Wednesday.

Mother and baby homes report: Main findings
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Ms Corless said she would have preferred if the Taoiseach had said on Tuesday that all were at fault and that there was a need for an apology “from all around.”

From her research she was aware of many of the details so they had not come as a surprise, she said. But she was disappointed that the report was “a little bit vague” about the issue of illegal adoption.

“There’s a lot of people disappointed it wasn’t gone into in a little more detail in the report.

“I’ve said it over and over again, they need an acknowledgement from the people that hurt them and put them in this situation. That’s first and foremost, and that hasn’t come out as yet.”

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