800 Baby Skeletons Found in Mass Grave at Irish Home for Unwed Mothers
A local historian has found the bodies of 800 babies buried in a mass grave in a septic tank at next to a home for unwed mothers and their children in County Galway, Ireland. The grave was first discovered in 1971, but has not been investigated since.
According to Liberty voice, this is yet another example of the Catholic Church’s treatment of what they called “fallen women” in Ireland. The last of these homes closed in 1996, after an estimated 30,000 women had passed through their doors.
Though nearly 800 skeletons were found in the mass grave, locals believe there could be more. Children were often sold to families for the US, or fostered without record. This shoddy record keeping could keep the actual number of dead children unknown. Records show that the children died of a number of causes, including starvation and tuberculosis. When the babies died, they were tossed into the unmarked septic tank on unconsecrated ground. The nuns would not even give them a proper Christian burial, and the mothers were often not told.
Daily Mail article mention that a source close to the investigation said: 'No one knows the total number of babies in the grave.
There are 796 death records but they are only the ones we know of.
'God knows who else is in the grave. It's been lying there for years and no one knows the full extent or total of bodies down there.'
Sean Ross Abbey in Tipperary was another: in the first year after it opened in 1930, 60 babies died out of a total of 120. Those who survived, meanwhile, were often sold abroad to childless couples.
Philomena Lee, whose three-year-old son, Anthony, was handed over by nuns at Sean Ross to an American family 60 years ago, was among those at the memorial service.
She said: 'It's not about getting angry, it's about doing what's right and it's about opening all the files.'
And Mrs Lee, whose story was made into the Oscar-nominated film, Philomena, added: 'Maybe the State never thought the mass graves would be found out about. They seem to be wanting to push it under the carpet, but it needs to be told.'
She said: 'I don't know how many bodies of mothers and children are in graves all over the country, 'I'm shocked at the latest news of the mass grave [at Tuam] - it's appalling and shouldn't be hidden.'