GALWAY, June 5 (RIA Novosti), Mark Hirst – A Catholic Archbishop in Ireland has told RIA Novosti that there is a “great public concern” after the discovery of an unmarked mass grave, encased in a concrete sceptic tank, containing the remains of almost 800 babies.
Archbishop Michael Neary told RIA Novosti he was “shocked” at the number of infants discovered buried in the graveyard in Tuam, County Galway, in the grounds of a former so-called “mother and baby home”.
“I was made aware of the extent of the situation by media reporting and historical research,” Neary told RIA Novosti.
“Regardless of the time lapse involved this is a matter of great public concern which ought to be acted upon urgently,” the Archbishop added.
The Catholic Church confirmed that the former home was operated by the Catholic nuns, Sisters of the Bon Secours, from 1925 until 1961 and was one of many similar establishments created across Ireland to house and contain unmarried pregnant women and rape victims.
As many as 35,000 women were institutionalized in the homes which were officially sanctioned by the Irish Government.
Yesterday the Irish Children’s Minister, Charlie Flanagan, announced he would establish a multi-departmental review of historic cases to investigate as many as 4,000 similar infant deaths and subsequent burials in unmarked mass graves across Ireland.
Responding to the discovery of the mass unmarked grave in Tuam Flanagan said, “It is a shocking reminder of a darker past in Ireland when our children were not cherished as they should have been.”
Neary said the Catholic Church would fully cooperate with the Irish Government led inquiry and told RIA Novosti, “I welcome the announcement by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Mr Charlie Flanagan, to establish a cross-departmental examination of the burial arrangements for children in Mother and Baby Homes.
“This will have the legal authority to examine the situation and to determine the truth,” Neary said.
“While the Archdiocese of Tuam will cooperate fully nonetheless there exists a clear moral imperative on the Bon Secours Sisters in this case to act upon their responsibilities in the interest of the common good,” Neary added.
This latest revelation will further undermine the credibility of the Catholic Church in Ireland which has been rocked in recent years by allegations of systematic sexual and physical abuse of children by Priests and Nuns.