Tuam Children’s Home Scandal – an analysis of the facts

In two excellent posts, Caroline Farrow (from Catholic Voices), has looked at the known evidence to date to give a measured and fair analysis of this recent public media outrage over the discovery of the mass grave of bones found at the Tuam Children’s Home in Ireland.


The story of the home run by the Catholic sisters of the Bon Secours has hit the UK press after a resulting Irish media storm.

It has predictably whipped up anti-Catholic outrage and sentiment amongst the small clique of Irish secularists who seem to inhabit Twitter, lurking to pounce on anyone who dares to say anything less than condemnatory about the Catholic Church in Ireland. It’s difficult to tell how representative they are of wider public opinion, but nonetheless the story and the victims deserve a response.

The UK Daily Mail handles the story in an uncharacteristically balanced fashion, noting that these types of homes were prevalent throughout Ireland and run by both the Catholic and Protestant Church.  Continue reading…

children at the home in tuam

children at the home in tuam

Following on from Caroline’s first article comes this one today. Please read both articles to get a fuller and more honest picture of the whole sad story.

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13 Responses to Tuam Children’s Home Scandal – an analysis of the facts

  1. mkenny114 says:

    Thank you for posting this – it is very refreshing to hear some bare, unexploited facts about the situation, and dealt with in such a fair, impartial manner. Also, I just came across this follow up from Tim Stanley at the Telegraph:


    where he compares this issue to other cases where people have jumped to conclusions without checking their sources, simply because the Church was mentioned.


  2. Very many thanks for publishing this


  3. kathleen says:

    Yes Michael – it’s really amazing to what lengths some people will go to in order to find a story with which to beat the Catholic Church. The anti-Catholic media is having a heyday, but fortunately (re your link) there are still journalists that have a sense of honour and integrity when making reports, checking their facts and figures first, and researching all the available evidence.

    So are all Catholic Irish institutions corrupt and wicked ?? Nothing could be further from the truth, and the Church was often the only place the destitute, sick and abandoned could find shelter and care at a time when nearly everyone was poor and suffering. Has anyone read Frank McCourt’s memoirs of pre-WWII Limerick? Brace yourselves for a horrifying tale of misery.

    What crossed my mind earlier was an example like this one… What would have happened to Little Nellie of Holy God for instance, a motherless infant who was taken in and lovingly cared for by Irish nuns before she died a holy death at the age of four?

    “There were four children in the family. Nellie’s father, William, with his family, were transferred to the barracks on Spike Island in Cork Harbor and Nellie’s mother died there. William decided that he could not care for the children and the two girls were given to the care of the Good Shepherd Sisters at St. Finbarr’s Industrial School in Sunday’s Well, Cork and the two boys were sent to another location. Nellie spent only one year in Sunday’s Well before she died due to illness. She had whooping cough when she arrived and it was also discovered that she had a spinal injury which was later found out to have been caused when the family’s child-minder dropped her as a baby. She also had tuberculosis and caries, a rotting disease of the gums and jaws.”

    And like little Nellie, there were so many poor and infirm children in Ireland in those days, as our grandmothers and others have told us.


  4. johnhenrycn says:

    This CP&S link reinforces my lawyer’s credo: Never believe what you read in the papers until you’ve done a further and thorough investigation. Horace Rumpole – a great legal mind of the mid-20th C. taught me that lesson – and no – I do not say that in jest. Anyway, this latest Irish ‘outrage’ is all the talk over here, although you can see from my comments that I was distracted by side issues, including correction of a Catholic woman who maintains that our bodies are recyclable. I hate saying it, but North Americans are generally an uneducated lot.

    I remember reading once that St JP II never read the newspapers. That may be why he was so ignorant of the smoke of Satan in the Church; but all things considered, I think he was on to something important.


  5. johnhenrycn says:

    My mom was placed in an orphanage by her prostitute mother and no good father. She, and her two sisters and a brother. A Proddy orphanage it was, and judging by how mom and her sisters turned out (the brother died in a road accident) they were far better off enduring the less than tender mercies of those child care workers than she would have been remaining under the roof of her parents. She didn’t often talk about it, but having to launder her sheets every morning after she wet the bed reminds me of the Magdalene story. Like my mom, I was born a bastard, but unlike her, I was blessed to be born of a woman who put her children first, and of a father who eventually did his duty. I think I was fortunate, but all this stuff about orphanages has to kept in perspective, and again, we must not believe what we read in the papers without a thorough investigation.


  6. johnhenrycn says:

    It makes me sad reading this story. A story about what though? Continuing down my personal memory lane, the song Yellow Rose of Texas is one Mom and me sang on her trips to visit and instruct dysfunctional families on how to care for their children. Mom had no education beyond Grade 10 – I don’t know what that translates into Englandwise; it’s pretty low over here – but she was hired by the Children’s Aid Society over here because she was an orphan, a rejected one. Why do our modern day equivalent organizations think that a university degree is of more value than a life lived? I remember singing Yellow Rose of Texas one time after Mom got back in the car after going to visit a couple who kept a child in a cage and who had a fungus growing on him (or her) from neglect. But she got back in the car and we went to the next house. That’s how things were done back then. So, when our present day bien pensants talk about how awful the old orphanages were and about how the people running them need to be hunted down and punished, I think back…


  7. johnhenrycn says:


  8. kathleen says:

    God bless your Mom JH. She must have been a truly wonderful woman.
    (And thanks for sharing your amazing story; I found it so moving.)


  9. kathleen says:

    It is a bit late in the day, and I expect many will have already seen some of the articles in the press that have debunked the first accusing headlines of “dumped” babies in the septic tank at Tuam. But for those who have not, I think it is necessary to repair some of the unchecked slanders thrown at the nuns, the Catholic Church… and even Ireland as a nation. Here are two of those recent articles.

    “Why That Story About Irish Babies In A Septic Tank Is A Hoax”:

    “The Obsession With Ireland’s Dark Past Has Officially Become Unhinged”:


  10. mkenny114 says:

    Thank you for posting these links Kathleen, which go even further to show how little substance there was to the terrible accusations thrown out at the Bon Secours sisters. I shall re-distribute them as much as I can so that more people can see the truth (as it seems they’re not going to get it from the media).


  11. Tricia Kelly says:

    You need to read the reports for Irish government enquiries over the years in relation to childcare. In particular the account of social ,economic and family backgrounds Child poverty in independent Ireland. by Prof. David Gwynn Morgan, it is on line .
    Then think , contraceptives were banned in Ireland . The laws of Church and State drove people into unbelievable poverty .Women were there to increase the Catholic population . Children were sold to increase these Convents wealth . Slave labour maintained and paid for the upkeep of these people and their properties . These organisation are holding property portfolios worth billions paid for by the labour of these women and their children .These women had a ‘Right to Life” but their life terminated as soon as they entered those institutions .


  12. Declan says:

    Kathleen uses two low grade far rightwing sites for links. The sites focus on the question of whether there was a septic tank or a mausoleum -hardly the key issue.

    The last witness to the horror is wheeled out to say, appallingly, that there can’t have been 800 bodies in there, only about 20. Dear God is this what we have come to, a body count?

    When will we realise that silence, coverup and denial won’t work these days? As some scurrilous US politician said, ”It’s not only the crime which is the issue, but the coverup.”

    I regret that Tricia Kelly’s measured comment has been met with silence.


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