More than 660 children died at a mother and child home in Dublin in the late 1920s according to a new report.
The news comes as the government inquiry into the Tuam home scandal begins to take shape.
The Irish Times reports that more than 660 infants and children died at the home in Pelletstown on Dublin’s Navan Road during a seven-year period up to the end of March 1930.
The deaths are noted in State records which show that the mortality rate among ‘illegitimate’ infants in 1925 and 1926 was five times that of infants born within marriage.
The departmental reports acknowledge the statistics as a ‘deplorable loss of life’ according to the paper.
The records from the Department of Local Government and Public Health recorded 662 deaths in the institution on the Navan Road between April 1st, 1924 and March 31st, 1930.
Mother and baby homes, like the one in Tuam, were established in Ireland in the 1920s and 1930s to house unmarried mothers and their children.
The report says some 119 of the 240 children housed in Pelletstown died in 1925, with the high mortality rate attributed to a measles epidemic. In 1927, 111 of the 263 children in the home died.
The total number of deaths at the home for the 18 years for which records are available, up to 1940, amount to 757.
The institution was run by the Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul and ‘provided and administered by Poor Law authorities’. The Dublin closed in 1985.
The shocking figures are contained in Local Government and Public Health reports, accessible at the National Library of Ireland.
The records also contain information on a number of other homes that housed unmarried mothers and their children.
The figures show that during the nine years up to March 31st 1941, there were 419 infant and child deaths recorded in Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, Co Tipperary, and 238 in the Sacred Heart Home in Bessborough in Cork.
There were 69 deaths at the Manor House home in Castlepollard, Co Westmeath, between the date it opened in 1935 and March 31st, 1940.
All three institutions were run by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary.
The paper adds that total number of deaths in the four homes covered by the reports was 1,483.