Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes: Fifth Interim Report

Mother & Baby Home Tum

Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes: Fifth Interim Report

Fifth  Interim  Report  from  the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.

The   Fifth   Interim  Report  examines  the  burial  arrangements  in  the
institutions  under  investigation  by  the  Commission.  The  report  also
examines  the  transfer  of  remains  to  educational  institutions for the
purpose  of  anatomical examination. Minister Zappone brought the report to
Government   yesterday   (16   April   2019),  securing  approval  for  its
publication.  The  report’s contents have been noted by Government and will
be sent to the relevant agencies for further consideration.

Responding  to the report the Minister said “This is a significant piece of
work  from  the  Commission that addresses important issues relating to the
burial  arrangements  at  these institutions. The Commission is collating a
huge  amount of material and examining the matters before it in a way never
before possible. This report reflects the sheer depth and complexity of the
work  the Commission is undertaking. I know that that many former residents
and  their  family  members  have  been  patiently awaiting this report and
believe that it will assist in bringing clarity to this matter”.

The Commission has stated that it will include an analysis of the causes of
deaths  and  the registration of deaths in its final report which is due by
February 2020.

The  Commission  has  submitted this interim report to assist Government in
implementing  its  agreed  course  of action to manage the juvenile remains
interred at the site at Tuam, Co Galway.  It is an interim report, compiled
on the basis of information available at this time. It includes a series of
detailed and complex technical reports which were sourced by the Commission
from  relevant  experts  to  inform its investigations into the site of the
former Home.

The  report  makes a number of findings in relation to the burials at Tuam.
The  Commission  states that it is clear that many of the children who died
in  the Tuam Home are buried in the underground chambers. The report states
that  these  chambers  were not a recognised burial ground or purpose built
burial  chamber  and that it did not provide for the dignified interment of
human remains.

The  Commission  concludes  that  there is little basis for the theory that
rather than having died, the children were ‘sold’ to America.

The  report  makes  no specific recommendations but calls on anyone who may
have  information  relating to the Tuam site to come forward and speak with
them.  On  this point Minister Zappone stated “I would like to endorse this
request  by  the  Commission  and  would strongly encourage anyone with any
information  relating  to  the Commission’s terms of reference contact them
immediately”.

The  report  also  examines  the  burial  practices  in  a  number of other
institutions  including  Bessborough,  Bethany Home, Castlepollard and Sean
Ross  Abbey.   In the case of Bessborough, the Commission found no physical
or  documentary  evidence  of  systematic  burials  within the grounds, but
considers  that  it  is  highly  likely  that burials took place there. The
Commission  did  not  consider  it  feasible  to excavate the full 60 acres
involved,  let alone the rest of the 200-acre estate on which the there has
been extensive building work since the institution closed.

In Sean Ross Abbey there is a designated child burial ground in the grounds
of  the  institution. The Commission has undertaken a geophysical study and
subsequently  a  test  excavation  of  the  site  and  the  results of this
excavation are currently being examined. The Commission will report on this
in their final report.

This  report  will  take some time to fully absorb but undoubtedly advances
our understanding of the burial practices at these institutions.

Minister  Zappone  stated  that  “The  publication  of  this  report  is  a
significant  milestone  in  the  work  of  this Commission. I am once again
reassured  that  the Commission will not shy away from asking the necessary
questions without fear or favour and will shine a light on this dark period
in our history