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mum's plea Heartbroken mum wants baby son's remains returned after being told he was buried in a mass grave

Kathleen Byrne was told her second child Patrick died after he was taken from her in Airmount Hospital in Waterford in January 1967.

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Kathleen wants to know what happened to her son Patrick

Kathleen wants to know what happened to her son Patrick

Dylan Vaughan

Kathleen wants to know what happened to her son Patrick

Gardai are set to meet with a woman who has spent decades trying to find out what happened to her baby who was taken away from her in hospital, never to return.

Kathleen Byrne was told her second child Patrick died after he was taken from her in Airmount Hospital in Waterford in January 1967.

But she said a nun at the hospital told her to never mention him again and move on, despite Kathleen pleading for his remains to be returned.

After decades seeking answers she was finally told in the 1990s that Patrick had been taken to Temple Street Hospital in Dublin where he died due to a heart issue before his organs were taken without permission, and that he was buried in a mass grave.

Kathleen said that because of the way things happened in Ireland back then she won't believe her son is dead until she has his remains which have still not been returned to her after all these years.

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Kathleen holding a book with images of the site of the old Angels Memory Garden

Kathleen holding a book with images of the site of the old Angels Memory Garden

Dylan Vaughan

Kathleen holding a book with images of the site of the old Angels Memory Garden

"I know mothers got death certs but their babies weren't dead at all. They were in America and had been adopted," Kathleen told the Sunday World.

Gardai from Waterford recently spoke to Kathleen and have arranged to meet her this month to discuss what happened to Patrick.

"The guard rang me and he's coming to meet me in the second week of January to talk about it.

"He has already spoken to me on the phone and is now meeting me to see if anything can be done about it.

"I have a death cert but how can you believe what they're telling you if you didn't get your child back?"

Kathleen has a gravestone for Patrick in Waterford but the grave remains empty as she was told she can't have his remains because they're buried in a mass grave in Glasnevin cemetery.

"A sod of grass is all I got back after years. I have his own headstone put up in Waterford with nothing underneath it.

"If he is there in Glasnevin they have to give him back. If he's not there they can't give him back. With all the things that went on you don't know if he is there or not."

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Kathleen at her home in Waterford

Kathleen at her home in Waterford

Dylan Vaughan

Kathleen at her home in Waterford

Records

She said she is sceptical about the official explanation for what happened to Patrick because she was told for years no records about him existed until she received them under Freedom of Information.

"I have files here. I have letters when they said they couldn't find anything on my child and then letters saying my child was there and they took his organs and they burned him when they were finished. Would you believe them after that?"

She said even if Patrick is in Glasnevin she should be given his remains so she can bring them back to Waterford for burial.

Kathleen was told she can't have the remains because there were dozens of babies in the grave but she wants a DNA test done to find out if he is there.

She previously described the removal of organs from Patrick without permission as "gutting him like a fish".

"Why wasn't I told where my child was going? Why did they do what they did to him [remove his organs] and not tell me about it? I signed nothing for it. I only signed for an injection in Waterford for the BCG and I was never asked to sign for anything else.

"I'd like to know the truth and if my child is down there just give him back. Give me back his little bones. If they can do it in Tuam they can do it for me."

Blade

Kathleen said she wanted to thank local Sinn Fein councillor John Hearne, who has been helping her seek answers to what happened to her son.

"If only for John Hearne it would have never happened. It was John Hearne who put the guards on to me," she said.


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