The eyes of the world have been on Ireland recently, since news emerged that human remains had been excavated from the site of a former Mother and Baby Home in Tuam Co. Galway; the same home where, as a local historian revealed in 2014, nearly 800 infants and children died between the years of 1925 and 1961, with no burial place ever listed.
Research into archives, records and first-hand accounts has helped to paint a full picture of the horrors and lack of respect for human life that took place in the former St. Mary's Home, but with a story such as this it can be challenging to separate what is true from what has been sensationalized.
IrishCentral spoke with two authorities on the matter: Professor James M. Smith of Boston College, an advisory committee member of Justice for Magdalenes, whose book, Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries and the Nation’s Architecture of Containment, offers the first history of women entering Ireland's 10 Catholic Magdalene Laundries between 1922 and 1996; and Cahir O'Doherty, a columnist for IrishCentral and the Arts and Culture Editor for the Irish Voice newspaper, who was one of the first journalists to break the story of the Tuam babies here in the US and has been covering it since 2014.
The conversation below gets to the heart of the story, the emotions and atmosphere in the town of Tuam following the revelations, the "fake news" accusations that have been made, and where Ireland can go from here. If you have any other questions you'd like answered, let us know in the comment section.