Ask any Irish person what happened at Tuam and you are invariably treated to a variation of the following.
- Nuns threw live babies in to septic tanks
- Nuns buried dead babies in septic tanks without a funeral
- 800 bones were found in a septic tank in Tuam
- Mothers were forced to be slaves in Tuam Mother and Baby Home and their babies were murdered
There is no limit to the creative variations of these stories.
One simple question, however, serves to be an appropriate response to these conspiracies, especially with regards to the claims of physical remains, ‘Where is the proof?’
We have not seen photographs of the bones, we have not even been shown the ominous septic tank, we have not been presented with any of the awful suspects for these alleged crimes. Instead, we’ve been subjected to hearsay, hyperbole and outright fantasy.
The lack of clarity on this issue is deliberate. By preserving ambiguity, the powers that be can let anger towards the church fester, in a way that maximises its perceived culpability while the state absolves itself. In the past week, news that Roderic O’Gorman had ordered the records to be sealed up was comically greeted with anger at the church, despite the church insisting that the records be opened up for examination. Even O’Gorman’s former party colleague Saoirse McHugh could not connect the dots, asking on Twitter why this had been allowed to happen. None of these critics seemed inclined to investigate as to why one of their own, as far left of a politician as we’ve ever had elected in this country, would want to seal up these files for 30 years.
At a recent conference in Galway, three historians, Brian Nugent, Eugene Jordan and Rory Connor discusses the various inconsistencies in the prevailing public narratives of this period of Irish history.
Firstly, Brian Nugent expressed a compelling argument regarding the myth that Free State Ireland was inherently Catholic and clerical in its political mechanisms. Brian detailed the fact that positions of political power mostly went to Protestants where possible, not Catholics. Eamon De Valera, who was excommunicated, was not as deferential towards those in power in the church and and in fact, himself and Archbishop McQuaid, contrary to myth, did not at all agree on the Catholic Church clauses in the 1937 constitution.
Speaking next was Eugene Jordan, who used his talk to refute some of the allegations that nuns had ‘starved’ babies and had overseen conditions that were any more harsh or inclined towards infant mortality than those shown by comparable statistics for other institutions and regions.
Rory Connor’s presentation concerned some of the posthumous allegations that were reported as fact, when in fact they were never even so far as investigated, include those claiming that Christian Brothers had murdered children in their care.
Lastly, the three men engaged in an enlightening discussion about how little empirical evidence had been offered in these matters. All three men made a plea that the records be released in order to show that the conspiracies currently circulating had no basis in reality. The church has been naive to cooperate with these investigations while leaving the government in complete
control of the files contained within.
Ultimately, there are only two things to point out with the Mother and Baby Home issues.
The Catholic Church wants the files released.
The anti Catholic Irish government do not want them released.
When the conference was rescheduled following the unavailability of the original Dublin venue, Patsy McGarry wrote an article in the Irish Times discussing the event’s cancellation, quoting the Archdiocese, who commented on it being cancelled for some strange reason. It would be wonderful if Mr. McGarry followed up his article with the revelations contained within these talks here.
It is unlikely, and disappointing, that the Irish Times, the Green Party or any one else will do that. Tuam has become the foundation myth upon which secular Ireland is built. It does not matter if the Irish of 2020 legalise euthanasia, preside over nursing home slaughters and dance in the streets to celebrate aborting babies. So long as they can imagine that the nuns did worse and ignore (or in the Green Party’s case, hide) the real evidence, they can console themselves for committing the unforgivable in their own time, waving a hypnotic wand over a public with the endless power of the internet at their hands, but none of the willpower to utilise it to overcome the strangulation of mainstream media.
We have provided the videos here. The speakers in the videos have provided the evidence. It is now the job of the Irish people to become informed.
Brian Nugent’s Book TuamBabies