The recent unearthing of death records for nearly 800 children in Ireland reminds us that evil knows no boundaries and infects every country on the planet like a plague. The Irish government and church that ran the homes where these children lived have decided not to let their deaths go unrecognized and will open an investigation to determine what happened all those years ago.
Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was the first to openly make a statement on the child death records. The records were found in a former "mother and baby home," a church-run institution for unwed mothers and their children, Fox News reported. "These are very complicated and very sensitive issues. But the only way we will come out of this particular period of our history is when the truth comes out," Martin told the national broadcaster RTE, the Associated Press reported. The Catholic leader acknowledged these homes were run by the Catholic and Protestant churches in Ireland from the 1920s to 60s, and because of this, he hopes the investigation will not involve the church.
On Tuesday, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny officially launched the investigation into the children’s deaths. "This was Ireland of the (19)20s to the '60s — an Ireland that might be portrayed as a glorious and brilliant past, but in its shadows contained all of these personal cases, where people felt ashamed, felt different, were suppressed, dominated, and obviously the question of the treatment in the mother and babies homes is a central part of that," Kenny explained, Fox News reported.
Significantly High Child Mortality Rate
As with many countries in the early 20th century, Ireland did not particularly accept unwed mothers and their children. Often banished from their homes for bringing shame to their families, these mothers turned to church-run "mother and child" institutions for help. Unfortunately, the death rate of children in these homes was four to five times greater than the national average, The Guardian reported. "Uncovering the dark history of how we treated unmarried mothers and their children is vital for us to truly acknowledge and understand our past. This is the missing piece of the jigsaw," Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, told Fox News.
Theories On How They Died
In the town of Tuam, situated in the western Irish County of Galway, researcher Catherine Corless found the records for the 796 children who died between the ages of 2 and 9 in the institution, The Guardian reported. Their bodies are believed to have been buried in a nearby field. Although the practice has since changed, at the time, babies born to unwed mothers were not allowed a baptism and were therefore denied a proper burial. Ireland had about 10 of these homes run by different orders in the Catholic and Protestant churches until the 1960s.
The true reason as to why so many children died in these homes is unknown, but abuse and neglect is believed to have been involved. Illegal drug trials are also believed to have contributed to some of the deaths. It has been suggested that scientists secretly and illegally vaccinated children in these religious-run homes. "The activities that have been described to us date back over 70 years and, if true, are clearly very distressing,” a spokesman for GSK, formally Wellcome, one of the pharmaceutical companies believed to have administered the illegal vaccination, explained to the Daily Mail.