27/08/2018 - The publication today of a letter, by Katherine Zappone, which she handed to the Pope is nothing more than a publicity stunt.
She writes in the preamble to that letter: I am the Minister responsible for the Tuam Mother and Baby Home. This is of course an absurd statement. Ms Zappone is merely the Minister to which the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes is to report. In a different country, such a Commission would be reporting to a Justice Minister. What Minister Zappone has been responsible for more than two years, is a dishonest exercise in respect of the Tuam pit, which has prolonged the agony of survivors and those whose relatives may be buried there, by standing in the way of an exhumation.
In the course of her letter to the Pope, she attempts to maintain the myth that she with her Cabinet colleagues can decide the future of the mass grave at Tuam. To be clear once more, the only office-holder with jurisdiction over the mass grave at Tuam is the local Coroner. Where a Coroner fails to convene an Inquest, the Attorney General has under s24 of the Coroners Act 1961, the power indeed obligation, to appoint another Coroner to do so. Neither the previous Attorney General Maire Whelan nor the current incumbent Seamus Woulfe, have fulfilled their obligations to do so. Minister Zappone has sat in Cabinet with both and cannot be unaware of the position.
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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”.
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08/08/2018 - The following is a copy of a letter sent to Mr Séamus Woulfe, Attorney General by Peter Mulryan dated 7th August 2018.
Mr Seamus Woulfe SC
Office of the Attorney General,
Dear Mr Woulfe,
Further to my recent letter.
Dr Val Costello as Coroner for North Galway continues to fail in his obligations to convene an Inquest into the mass grave at Tuam and the deaths of up to 800 infants.
Where he has so clearly failed, there is a clear obligation on you to appoint a Coroner to convene an Inquest into the Tuam deaths. It is not up to me to cite the legal argument or statutory basis under which that duty falls on you, it must be assumed that you as Attorney are reasonably aware of the law and of the significance of the Tuam mass grave.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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