In an update to the tragic story we brought you last week, more details are coming in on the tragedy found at the site of the former Bon Secours home for unwed mothers in Tuam, County Galway, Ireland.
The Irish Sunday World reported this weekend on a list it obtained of the names of the 796 children who are believed buried in that mass grave. Premature deaths appear to have run rampant in the home. The youngest died at a mere 10 minutes of age, with a cause of death listed as Asphyxia neonatorum. That little boy didn’t even get a name in the death roll.
The oldest child to pass was an 9-year-old who lived her entire life in the home, only to die of what is listed as a bout with influenza in 1934. Influenza and the measles were like plagues in the home. In less than one month in 1936, no less than 22 children are listed to have died from the measles. A further 93 names on that list show influenza as at least part of the reason for the child’s death.
What is perhaps the most chilling thing to come out of these documents, however, is tragic number of children whose cause of death was listed as ‘marasmus’. UNICEF lists “marasmus” as an acute level of malnutrition. The mortality rate in these homes was well above the national average at the time. The horrific deaths of those children, as with the deaths already suspected in other mother-and-baby homes, are being referred to by some now as an “Irish Holocaust”.
The Irish government has announced the formation of a statutory Commission of Investigation which will look at all of Ireland’s mother and baby homes. The Tuam case is among the list of cases the Commission is expected to give special attention. According to Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, for decades in Ireland, the children of unwed mothers were considered “an inferior sub-species”. The initial report is expected to be given to the Irish government by June 30.
RTE’s Prime Time news program brings us this report:
Roll of stolen childhoods revealed in death records of 796 babies and children who were buried in mass grave in Tuam mother and baby home (Sunday World, Ireland)
Tuam babies: Babies born out of wedlock treated as ‘sub-species’ says Enda Kenny (BBC News)
What do we know about the Tuam mother and baby home? RTE News Prime Time
Ireland mass graves: Unearthing one of the darkest chapters in Irish history The Independent (UK)