In response and in defence of Ireland and of fact, Minister for Children, Charlie Flanagan called the discovery of an unmarked grave as ‘deeply disturbing and a shocking reminder of a darker past in Ireland’ while Enda Kenny admitted that more mass baby graves – other than the one found at Tuam, Co Galway – could possibly exist throughout Ireland. Our leading politicians, rather than calling for consideration, jump on the bandwagon of supposition and conclusions drawn. The stated position of  Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, calling for a much wider investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, including adoption and medical experiments is difficult to understand. The Archbishop may rightly favour full disclosure in order to be able to avoid repeated scandals, yet the approach taken by the Archbishop, as with the political establishment, seems to presume wide-ranging malfeasance in the homes before any facts are established.

Apparently there are people outraged and they are not just the misinformed international media or the deferent Irish politicians who are quick to assume the worst of the country they grew up in. Outraged at what? That children died in the Mother and Baby Home at significantly higher levels than in general society? This has been known for years so why the outrage now? Why the sudden concern? That babies were buried in unmarked graves in Ireland past? There are graves of unmarked children in every town and city in the country, in the countryside, on the side of hills. Where was the outrage before? That 800 babies were unceremoniously dumped in a septic tank? Martina Devlin writes ‘The dead children were thrown aside, the way a piece of rubbish is scrapped. Dumped in a septic tank…treated carelessly, as though best forgotten. As inconvenient in death as in life.’ This is not fact, and any supposed outrage is presumptuous. Outrage that there are a significant number of bodies in a tank at the edge of the Bon Secours Home? This has been known since 1975, though it seems impossible that 796 bodies are there. One eye-witness who found the tank in 1975 said the number was around 20. The tank was part of an operating sewage scheme up to 1936, during the period when over 200 of the children in the home died. Even if it is proven as fact that the 796 infants are all or mostly in that septic tank, what is the outrage? Yes, it is unacceptable and horrible. Yes, Ireland should have been better than this but Ireland of today should be better than it is. An incoherent cacophonic rage seems to manifest  whenever anything religious- and in particular Catholic (see below in relation to Bethany Homes)- can be associated with the failings of Ireland past.

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