796 babies and toddlers died in the Tuam Mother and Baby home between the years of 1925 and 1960, after horrific neglect and lack of basic care. The home was run by the Bon Secours sisters. The name Bon Secours means “Good Help,” the very opposite of what was provided.
Now we are publishing all their names, those tiny humans whose lives were not worth a piece of dirt to those charged with caring for them, or to the men who fathered and abandoned them. By naming we wish to give them a moment of recognition, no longer just a name on a death certificate.
The sentiment towards the out of wedlock kids was best summarized by a medical doctor:
“A great many people are always asking what is the good of keeping these children alive? I quite agree that it would be a great deal kinder to strangle these children at birth than to put them out to nurse.” -- Doctor Ella Webb, June 18, 1924, speaking about illegitimate children in care in Ireland at the time
Elaine Byrne, a columnist with the Sunday Business Post in Ireland, discovered the quote above as she researched how up to 800 children were allowed to die by the Bon Secours sisters in Tuam, County Galway.
In Dr. Webb’s time, a commission found that: “The illegitimate child being proof of the mother’s shame is in most cases sought to be hidden at all costs…the child becomes an encumbrance on the foster mother who has no interest in keeping it alive.”
Euthanasia was preferred.
But they were living, breathing, beautiful young children, hopelessly innocent who suffered the darkest of fates, as you will see in their causes of death listed below. Many starved to death. Drug companies were allowed experiment on them, after death their bodies were sold to medical schools. When alive many were sold to Americans who paid to adopt them, ripping them away from their mothers.
Last week the Galway Advertiser printed the name of every one of those children as provided by Catherine Corless the heroic local historian who revealed the entire tragic story. Back in 2014, The Sunday World also shared a PDF of their dates and causes of death. Irish American activist Ciaran Staunton has bought ad space in Irish American newspapers to name them and shame those who let so many die.
These are their names. These are their dates of death. These are their ages when they died. These are their causes of death. Holy Catholic Ireland can never claim them except in shame. Bill Donahue with his $400,000 salary and $30 million funded Catholic League can never besmirch them as he has tried so hard to do.
They belong with the true angels now.
Note: To enlarge the names and records, please click on the images.