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Amnesty International: Tuam investigation must be independent, effective and transparent

A Government task force has been set up to examine the Tuam revelations, and is due to report back by the end of this month.

Local Tuam historian Catherine Corless, pictured beside a grotto in the grounds of the Tuam home.
Local Tuam historian Catherine Corless, pictured beside a grotto in the grounds of the Tuam home.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Updated at 10.32am

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL HAS added its voice to the calls for a full investigation into the ‘Tuam babies’ revelations.

It follows yesterday’s confirmation that a Government task force is to examine the issue, and report back by the end of the month.

Children’s Minister Charlie Flanagan said the review would not just be limited to Tuam, as the controversy had “brought to the fore the situation in other Mother and Baby Homes throughout the country”.

In a statement, Amnesty says it note the reports of a cross-departmental government examination, but that “any such process must have – or be quickly followed by a process with – the necessary hallmarks of independence, effectiveness and transparency”.

“A thorough investigation must be carried out into how these children died and if ill-treatment, neglect or other human rights abuses factored into their deaths,” Europe Director of Amnesty John Dalhuisen said.

We also need to know why these children were not afforded the respect of a proper and dignified burial.

According to Amnesty:

The international human rights framework of law emerged during the period in which these children lived and died.

If the home closed in 1961, it is possible that some of the deaths occurred at a time when the European Convention on Human Rights was in force.

Even before then, Ireland was aware of the internationally agreed norms expected of it in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Meanwhile, the Sisters of Bon Secours have said they welcome the Government announcement of an investigation.

They said last night in a statement they were “shocked” by the recent reports:

The Sisters of Bon Secours today said they were shocked and deeply saddened by recent reports about St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home, which operated in Tuam, County Galway from 1925 to 1961.

In 1961 the Home was closed.  All records were returned to the local authority, and would now be within the Health Service Executive, Co. Galway.

The Bon Secours Sisters say they are committed to engaging with Catherine Corless, the Graveyard Committee and the local residents as constructively as they can on the graves initiative connected with the site.

The Sisters welcome the recent Government announcement to initiate an investigation, in an effort to establish the full truth of what happened.

Speaking last night, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he wanted to know if there were similar graves in other parts of the country.

When asked about an independent investigation, Kenny said Minister Flanagan was keeping him informed on what would be the best structure to put in place.

First posted at 8.09am.

Read: TD calls for Tuam mass grave to be declared a crime scene

Read: The world is talking about Tuam’s 800 dead babies>

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