The Shame of Ireland
The woman who revealed the horror of the Tuam babies scandal has slammed the Catholic Church for its response to the atrocity.
Catherine Corless, whose research revealed 794 children were buried in a mass grave in Co Galway, said the clergy had no interest in hearing the truth when the story emerged.
Appearing in an episode of RTE’s Would You Believe? tonight, Ms Corless said she had expected a much bigger response from the Church which ran the mother and baby home where the children perished.
She revealed: “I really expected the clergy to come forward and to help us out and to do something about this atrocity.
“Nobody wanted to listen, nobody wanted to hear this story, nobody wanted to face the truth. That to me, wasn’t what Jesus preached when he was on earth.”
Ms Corless, whose own mother was raised in one of the appalling facilities, said she was overwhelmed by the intense response as the world’s media flocked to Tuam in the wake of the horrific revelations.
But she admitted being relieved the scandal had come to light and claimed nobody would have exposed the secret deaths without her research.
Ms Corless added: “When I look at my own children and especially my grandchildren and see then how lovely they are, I just can’t understand hundreds of the likes of those are buried in unmarked graves in that area. Not many people seem to care, really and truly. I think that’s an absolute disgrace.”
Hundreds of former residents of the Tuam home and others around the country contacted Catherine for advice after the story broke.
And she revealed her own mother’s connection to the homes gave her great empathy for the survivors.
She said: “Those children were brought up to believe they weren’t worthwhile, that they didn’t have the same rights as everybody else.
“I go back to my mother and I feel that’s how she grew up. A total injustice was done to her.” PJ Hansbury, who is one of the survivors of the Tuam home, spoke about the stigma that came with being born in the harsh conditions.
He told the documentary: “Things would be said to you.Site where bodies of 800 children from Bons Secours home were found in unmarked grave in Tuam Co Galway
“Later on when you’d go dancing and you’d meet girls and then they’d just turn their back on you because they found out who you were or where you came from, the home. They’d just keep away from you and that was it.
“It was heartbreaking. You just felt rejected and that you were a second-class citizen.”
He praised Catherine for her work in exposing the scandal and said she had given survivors a new lease of life. He added: “Since it came out in the media it has given us all this freedom to talk, to say that I was there.
“You don’t feel that thing hanging over your head like you were second-class citizens or that you came out of this home in Tuam and you were nothing.
“It was great. We have Catherine Corless to thank for that.”