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Mass grave

July 2014

A mass grave in Ireland is set to be excavated after an official complaint was filed from the relative of a missing child from a former Tuam Catholic children’s home.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the bodies of nearly 800 babies and young children are believed to have been interred in a concrete tank beside the former home for unmarried mothers.

The home was set up at the turn of the last century, run by the Bon Secours nuns in Tuam, County Galway, to look after unmarried mothers, their children and orphans.

However, it is believed that the children suffered malnutrition and neglect, which caused the deaths of many, while others died of measles, convulsions, TB, gastroenteritis and pneumonia. Those who survived were often sent overseas, especially to America, to be adopted.

The home closed in 1961, and a housing estate now stands on the site of the former home, but it is understood that, from 1925 to 1961, up to 796 dead children were buried in unconsecrated ground, in a plot that had housed a water tank, attached to the workhouse that preceded the mother and child home.

A relative of William Joseph Dolan, one of the boys who once lived there, said his body has never been found and there has been no death certificate, despite records from the home stating that he had died.

She has now filed an official complaint with the local police, who may reopen a mass grave that was discovered by two boys playing on the site in the 1970s, to conduct an investigation.

According to the report, a local health board inspection report carried out in 1944 revealed that 271 children and 61 young mothers were living there, way over the home’s capacity of 243.

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