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Excavation work has uncovered up to 800 children’s bodies at the site of home for unmarried mothers and their children in Ireland.

A mass grave containing the remains of babies and children has been discovered at a former Catholic care home in Ireland where it has been alleged up to 800 died, government-appointed investigators said on Friday, reports The Guardian.

Excavations at the site of the former Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, County Galway, have uncovered an underground structure divided into 20 chambers containing “significant quantities of human remains”, the judge-led mother and baby homes commission said.

The commission said analysis of selected remains revealed ages of the deceased ranged from 35 weeks to three years old. It found that the dead had been mostly buried in the 1950s, when the facility was one of more than a dozen in Ireland offering shelter to orphans, unmarried mothers and their children. The Tuam home closed in 1961.

The home, run by the Bon Secours Sisters, a Catholic religious order of nuns, received unmarried pregnant women to give birth.

The women were separated from their children, who remained elsewhere in the home, raised by nuns, until they could be adopted.

The discovery confirms decades of suspicions that the vast majority of children who died at the home were buried on the site in unmarked graves, a common practice at such Catholic-run facilities amid high child mortality rates in early 20th-century Ireland.

The government’s commissioner for children, Katherine Zappone, said the findings were “sad and disturbing” and promised that the children’s families would be consulted on providing proper burials and other memorials.

“We will honour their memory and make sure that we take the right actions now to treat their remains appropriately,” Zappone said.

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Image via The Guardian

  • yep very sad but that is what they did back then and it is not surprising really.

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  • Such a sad read.

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  • Such heartbreaking news. These Mums would have thought they were doing the right thing by having their babies adopted out. RIP all of those little angels. At least now they might get a proper burial.

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  • Oh my gosh this is just so so terribly sad and shocking. RIP littlies.

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  • This is heartbreaking, glad times have progressed and we no longer practice this. Hopefully families can have closure now

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  • How very sad and what a shameful part of our history. RIP little ones.

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  • I do remember watching a movie, either fiction or non fiction on this topic and it was not so unusual for this to occur in such places. It was disturbing and sad for the poor women involved. May the souls of all these little ones RIP.

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  • This is a horrific amount indeed. The article doesn’t tell what happened to the children. I assume further investigation will follow.
    Yes, may they rest in the arms of the Lord !

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  • How very sad. May you be resting in the arms of the Lord.

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  • How sad, You would think they would have given them proper burials

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  • Neglect or disease? I know in Aust. around that time there was a lot of babies who died from various diseases within days of birth. A large were not children of unmarried Mothers. Unfortunately the next-of-kin of some of these babies or Mums have since passed away.

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  • Wow, shocking to find that many. So very sad. Will be a lot of work I imagine to identify the remains. RIP little ones.

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