The first meeting of the Collaborative Forum was held on Thursday 26th July in Government Buildings Minister Katherine Zappone was in attendance at this inaugural meeting and addressed the Forum’s 20 members, thanking them for their commitment and highlighting the value of the Forum as -

“A real opportunity for us to take one more step in putting our shameful past behind us — not forgetting it, or simply ‘moving on’, but acknowledging, knowing, recording, and building on it; using our past to help us to move forward”.

On Monday, the 23rd of July, Minister Katherine Zappone held a meeting in Tuam which we attended and where our secretary Breeda took the following notes as transcript in real time on the laptop as the Minister spoke.

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Good evening everyone, almost all here, maybe more will gather.  Thank you very much for coming.  I am joined by Fergal Lynch (Secretary General) Michelle Shannon (Director, Youth assistant director), Doyle working in section of department with her – and Wendy and Liam will assist later as part of evening to help facilitate exchanges with me.

To say first of all how appreciative I am for you to give time, many having done this and having spent a lot of time thinking and reflecting and advocating for issues related to site of Tuam. Many of you are aware I’ve met with some of you this is my fourth visit over the last year and a half

Speaking a little first to you; First by speaking about the decisions I now have to make and how I hope to make them and why I am here this evening with my officials. We start with that point and may I say as more people are coming in, to acknowledge the montage of children’s toys that greeted us as we came in to recall the 796 children and I acknowledge that as part of the evening and the depth of feeling behind that as well.

22/07/2018 - The following written by Kevin Higgins is based on research undertaken by him over the last four years and is part of a much larger work. It gives us a clearer view of how  the Tuam children were treated including my own sister and makes it even more urgent that a full exhumation takes place. An Inquest must be convened and post-mortems conducted to determine how the Children of the Tuam Home died.

Kevin Higgins has acted as my solicitor in the only litigation involving Mother and Baby Homes which has so far come before the High Court. Those proceedings will continue.

Peter Mulryan, Chairperson, Tuam Home Survivors Network.

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Dr Thomas Bodkin Costello (and Friends)

Dr Thomas Bodkin Costello, local worthy, doctor, enthusiastic antiquarian and by popular acclaim, all-round 'good egg', became Medical Officer to the so-called Mother and Baby Home at Tuam when it opened in 1925. He had previously been Medical Officer to Tuam Workhouse, for many years, housed in those same buildings until its closure in 1921.

While we know from a number of disclosures in recent years, that any records kept by the Bon Secours Order when they managed the Home over thirty-six years, must be viewed with distrust, we should be able to treat official State documents with some credibility. In this instance, we should be able to look at the Death Certificates for 796 children issued by the State itself between 1925 and 1961 with some confidence. These Certificates deal only with those children who died within the Home itself and give no indication as to the life span or health and welfare of any child who left the Home. Furthermore, there is no certainty that the 796 Death Certificates available reflect the deaths of all children which occurred in the Home.

17/07/2018 - The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone is to visit Tuam on Monday evening next (23rd July 2018).

During the visit she is expected to take time listening to the views of people on the future of the site of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home.

07/07/2018 - The Report of the so-called "Consultative process" on the future of the Tuam site is worthless, a crudely designed mechanism to delay or prevent what clearly requires to be done.

This Report commissioned by Minister Zappone using Galway County Council as her agent, seeks to further the myth that the Minister and Government in general has the power to decide the future of the mass grave at Tuam.

07/07/2018 - The following press release was published on the website of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Please click here for the response from the Tuam Home Survivors Network.

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone, has today (06/07/2018) published the report of the public consultation process on the options and appropriate courses of action available to Government in relation to the site of the former Mother and Baby Home at Tuam, Co. Galway.

22/06/2018 - This sculpture by Martine Sterck from Belgium comprises of 796 babies made by 796 Flemish mothers.

What led to this beautiful tribute to the Tuam Babies is told by Martine as follows:

‘I found an article in a local newspaper about the missing babies. I was speechless... From that moment on I knew that I wanted to do something for those babies and children, so they will never be forgotten. Because I’m a student at the artacademy in Dendermonde (it’s a city in Belgium and my hometown), I wanted it to be my year-project.  I made 796 little balls of (60gr) clay and then I asked 796 mothers if the wanted to make a little baby. 

Of course I didn’t just ask them, I’ve told the story of The Tuam Babies even more than a thousand times I think. I just wanted them to realise how important this was for me and for the children. Thanks to all of those mothers and actually everyone with a child wish, this piece was made. It was made with so much love! It fills my heart that so many people helped me create this.’

Thank you to Martine and everyone involved.

Martine Sterck with her SculptureMartine Sterck with her Sculpture