Irish government ignores in-depth report in favour of emotive poem – Catholic Herald

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Speaking in the Dáil, he told of how a poem by former Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone, read out during a ministerial cabinet meeting, convinced him that he needed to introduce a scheme of redress for residents of the Mother and Baby Homes in Ireland in the 20th century.  

“Katherine Zappone, who was a minister in that Government, went down to Tuam, looked in the (septic) tank and the graves, and came back and reported to the Government. She said to us that we needed to be the Government that tried to do something about this.” 

It was this rather than a wide-ranging and in-depth report from a Commission of Investigation which convinced the Irish government to act and to set up a redress scheme for Mother and Baby home survivors.

“The reason we took the decision we did during the previous Government, and this Government, was because we listened to people like Catherine Corless and because we engaged with survivors. It was because of Katherine Zappone,” he said. 

Prompted by a desk review by amateur historian Catherine Corless, who noticed that there were 800 children on the lists of those who had died in the mid-20th century at the Tuam Mother and Baby Home whose graves could not be located, the Mother and Baby Homes became another institutional scandal in Ireland with the ire of most directed at nuns and religious of Ireland.  

Corless’ investigation led to the false claim that the deaths of the babies were covered up and that their remains were dumped in a septic tank on the grounds of the home. Both myths have been demonstrated as false, but the facts have not been allowed to get in the way of a good anti-Catholic story.  

The Prime Minister’s reference to Zappone “look[ing] in the tank” is a further allusion to the lie that has taken on the pretence of fact even in government buildings.  

Whatever the views on the need for a scheme of redress, it is a poor reflection on the Irish Government that it took a poem to determine the government’s course of action rather than the 2,685 page “Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes” which was released in January 2021.  

The report was commissioned by the Irish Government in February 2015 to provide a full account of what happened to vulnerable women and children in Mother and Baby Homes during the period 1922 to 1998 and was chaired by eminent judge Yvonne Murphy. It has been largely ignored because it did not confirm the popular perception of the homes.  

Much of the commentary around the Mother and Baby homes prior to the publication of the report has been used to create a caricature of evil nuns who set out to torment women and who cared little for the babies born in the institutions.  


Irish government ignores in-depth report in favour of emotive poem – Catholic Herald

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