The Catholic archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has called for a properly constituted commission to examine issues raised by the discovery of a mass babies’ grave in Tuam, Co Galway – including the allegation that medical trials were carried out on children.
Archbishop Martin also said the commission should investigate whether similar burials took place at other mother and baby homes throughout the State.
He suggested the commission be independent of the Catholic Church and State agencies with a chairman possibly taken from the judicial profession. He suggested membership should include people such as Ian Elliott former chief executive officer of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland.
Archbishop Martin urges full co-operation on Mother and Baby Homes
The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin has urged those responsible for running any of the Mother and Baby homes in Ireland, or any other person having information about mass graves, to give that information to the authorities.
Archbishop Martin said, “The Gospel message is that authentic faith is measured by how we treat children who represent Jesus Christ.” He said the details emerging from Tuam, and perhaps elsewhere, were sickening.
Several months ago, Archbishop Martin asked the Dublin Diocesan Archivist to compile information in the archive concerning Mother and Baby homes in Dublin. Hundreds of documents have already been collated. The Archbishop has said he will share this information with any inquiry the government will establish. He expressed the hope that a full bodied inquiry will be set up, examining all aspects of life in the homes and crucially how adoptions were organised.
Over the past number of years Archbishop Martin has met with representative groups and some people who were born in Mother and Baby homes. He said the story of the homes was not simply one from another time or era, but the personal story of hundreds of men and women alive today, living here and abroad. He said every effort should be made, by all parties who were involved in setting up, running and overseeing these homes to ensure the mothers and children who were sent there, have an accurate account as possible of their own life stories.
He urged the relevant Religious Orders and Government bodies to urgently consider a similar collation of documentation which could serve to quickly hasten the process of establishing and bringing into public light the whole truth of the Mother and Baby homes.
To date, no information concerning mass graves has emerged from the Dublin Diocesan archive. Archbishop Martin supports the setting up of monuments at any unmarked grave sites with, where possible, the names of those who died.