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No respect Catherine Corless slams Mother and Baby Homes Commission as a 'cover up'

The historian whose work led to the discovery of a mass grave at a home in Tuam Galway described survivors giving testimony as “a useless exercise”


Historian Catherine Corless

Historian Catherine Corless

Historian Catherine Corless

Campaigner Catherine Corless, has slammed the Mother and Baby Homes Commission as “a lovely way of just covering up everything again”. 

The historian whose work led to the discovery of a mass grave at a home in Tuam Galway, told Newstalk Breakfast that survivors giving testimony was “a useless exercise”.

She was speaking after a member of the group, Professor Mary Daly, spoke about the work of the commission on an academic webinar on Wednesday that resulted in a backlash from survivors.

"It has been a revelation really, to hear Mary Daly saying precisely what we felt and what we thought from the start: that it was a terrible report, we weren't satisfied, a number of the survivors were very upset and hurt over it,” Ms Corless said.

“It was just left at that and we had hoped that the committee would come back to the Oireachtas and speak - maybe with a selected group of survivors - to tell us exactly what happened.

"And now we realise that they knew all along - the committee had never intended to use the survivors testimonies at all.

"They went up and they felt they were giving their testimonies so that justice would be served to them and to their families.

"But now we realise that it was a useless exercise in the first place, and why they did is beyond me.

"It showed no respect, absolutely, for survivors - it wasn't survivor-orientated at all".

Earlier this year the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, apologised on behalf of the State for the "profound generational wrong" perpetrated against women and children in the homes.

He admitted that the State failed the mothers and children who were sent there after a report found Ireland had a "stifling, oppressive and brutally misogynistic culture" towards unmarried mothers and their children.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has called on members of the commission to come before an Oireachtas committee to answer questions about their work.

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But Ms Corless described the approach of the commission as virtually the same as another cover up.

"I am speaking on behalf of them (the survivors) and they have come to me and they wonder is this it?” she said.

"They went up there and they opened their hearts and their souls, and they talked about their traumatic experiences and how it had affected them all their lives.

"And now realise what was it for; and then out come the announcement that everything was going to be locked away for 30 years - a lovely way of just covering up everything again."

But she added that she was "delighted" to hear the Taoiseach will be asking the committee to come back and face the Oireachtas.

"Knowing survivors and knowing the people I work with, they will welcome redress - but first of all they want justice.

"And nothing really has happened with all the apologies and all the promises, mostly of all as regards burials - that is just dragging its heals along."

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