Is there a code of omertà around Mother and Baby homes?




Last week we celebrated 70 years since our  country officially became a republic, (it happened at midnight Easter Monday on 18th of April 1949), yet I for one, a normally proud Irishwoman, feel sick to my stomach and thoroughly ashamed. You see, (in the same week), according to a new report, the burial locations of hundreds of babies and children who died in the State’s notorious mother and baby hell-holes remains unknown. Now, with regard to our highly respected neighbours in Tuam, the institution, (run by the Sisters of Bons Secours), was situated on a site allegedly operated and owned by Galway County Council, whom, in the face of deep criticism relating to them not being able to produce a legally required Register of Burials, is, let me state, insisting it is ‘fully co-operating with the investigation’.

  Now, during the course of my work, I’ve visited Tuam many times, and let me declare that it is populated by wonderfully decent human beings, people who deserve respect. However, as the town is sadly notorious as being the location of the disreputable Mother and Baby home, which harbours a mass burial site containing the remains of hundreds of babies who perished while in the care of the Order who ran it, I’d have to agree with the investigation and say that yes, it’s entirely possible that some local workers would’ve passed through its grounds on a regular basis. And, given this theory, I’d imagine that this week, the stench of humiliation, remorse, guilt, hypocrisy, and possibly fear is permeating that normally glorious Tuam air. 

  In relation to Bessborough, which was run by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, I’d also agree with the report when it asserts, that, it is “very difficult to comprehend” how those who managed it have no information to offer concerning the locations of the burial places of the hundreds of infants and children who died in their care. Are we expected to believe that not a single, solitary, chaste, God-fearing Catholic among this lot has any credible info whatsoever, and can’t (or refuse) to provide even a smidgen of a clue that’d point families in the right direction?  

  Look Sisters, maths isn’t my strong point, but if, between the decades of 1920 and 1980 nine hundred little souls perished at Bessborough, I make that fifteen deaths a year, so it’s absolutely staggering that not one single nun among you can come forward and break their silence; leading me to ask if there’s some sort of omertà in place here? If this shameful practice had happened anywhere else in the EU, the entire scandal would be referred to The Hague…and rightly so!

  Well done to Minister Katherine Zappone, who appears to be genuinely doing her best to get to the bottom of this horror, and who has passionately appealed to anyone with answers relating to these places of persecution to “let us know where they (the children) are buried”.

  I mean no disrespect to our wonderful neighbours in Tuam, and I fully understand we are living in very different times. I empathise with those of you who may have information but whom, up to now, for whatever reason, have (disgracefully) remained silent.

  However, whether these tight-lipped individuals are possible members of the local clergy, are close family, or indeed, are possibly former members of an Garda Síochána, or are a part of the local community and council, etc., I’d implore you, given the revelations, and given the unspeakable horrors that befell these innocent little angels, it’s reasonable to assume your continued silence may be construed as not only being your acceptance, but possibly your collusion in the unauthorised and unrecorded disposal of innocent babies and young children’s bodies; babies who were Irish citizens with both legal and human rights.

  So today, examine that part of your conscience making you stand idly by, and come out and tell us what you know. The families, and indeed Ireland as a whole, needs a forensic investigation to bring about clarification and justice for these children and their mothers.

  For more information, please contact the HSE on 1850-241850.


I’m keeping the dogs!


You’re probably already aware, but a pre-nuptial agreement has absolutely no basis in Irish law, and is, therefore not binding. However, while there may be many reasons why a couple would sign a pre-nup prior to tying the knot, (money being the main one), as far as I’m concerned, retaining custody of the beloved fur babies would definitely be top of my list!

  I only mention this because the fight to retain custody of the family pet following a divorce is on the rise here in Ireland. And, as I love my doggies as much as I love my kids, (more, according to my eldest), I can fully understand this scenario and it’s for this very reason, as well as the fact that, according to the UK’s Blue Cross, ‘30,000 divorce cases in the past year involved a dispute over a pet,’ that, on an occasion where I’m asked to carry out a voluntary home-check for an animal rescue charity, I’ve been known to ask the surprised applicants the one question everyone else avoids, and that is, have they made plans for the pet in the unlikely event they go their separate ways? When the answer’s ‘er, no,’ I ask, well, are they planning to return the poor dog/cat back to the rescue? When the reply is, ‘well yes probably,’ I follow up with, does the same apply to the kiddies? As in, will they pack up the cherubs and return them to the maternity hospital? No…of course they won’t!  So isn’t it reasonable for me to ask them to consider making arrangements for their pets prior to their commitment to adopt.

  Therefore, (and not that I’m contemplating it whatsoever because I adore him), but, if he-who-can-assemble-an-entire-car-engine-with-his-eyes-shut-yet-can’t-tidy-away-his-spanners and myself ever decide we no longer deserve our Lifetime Achievement Award for putting up with each other, let me state here and now that I’m keeping our dogs!


Well done on an ‘egg-cellent’ Easter Parade!


There was a great buzz in the county town last Sunday as locals donned their glad rags and flocked to the town’s annual Easter Parade. Well done to everyone who took part. The sun shone on what was definitely a healthy dose of community spirit at its very best with everyone in attendance looking happy and content…and why shouldn’t they be? Roscommon is a thriving county, full of fantastic people who not only believe in promoting and cultivating sense of belonging, they showcase it. Other counties would do well to take note! Just sayin’!