Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, has said he was greatly shocked to learn of the extent of the numbers of children buried in the graveyard at the Mother and Baby Home in Tuam. Archbishop Neary was speaking during Mass for the First Sunday of Lent in the Cathedral of the Assumption in Tuam.
The Archbishop said he was made aware of the magnitude of this situation by media reporting and historical research. He said, “I am horrified and saddened to hear, through the Commission’s interim statement of 3 March 2017, that quite a large quantity of human remains were discovered on this site which, on analysis, matches the timescale of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home. This points to a time of great suffering and pain for the little ones and their mothers. Albeit not unexpected, I was very upset as I read the Commission’s findings made public on Friday, 3 March 2017.”
Archbishop Neary went on to say, “I can only begin to imagine the huge emotional wrench which the mothers suffered in giving up their babies for adoption or by witnessing their death. Some of these young vulnerable women may already have experienced rejection by their families. The pain and brokenness which they endured is beyond our capacity to understand. It is, then, simply too difficult to comprehend their helplessness and suffering as they watched their beloved child die.”
Archbishop Neary said that regardless of the time lapse involved this is a matter of great public concern. He said he welcomes the fact that the Commission has already asked that the relevant State authorities take responsibility for the appropriate treatment of the remains, and that the Coroner has been informed. Archbishop Neary said, “It continues to be a priority for me, in cooperation with the families of the deceased, to seek to obtain a dignified re-interment of the remains of the children in consecrated ground in Tuam.
The Archbishop continued, “As the Archdiocese did not have any involvement in the running of the home in Tuam, I have no specific information on the manner of interment of remains, but any material we have which is even remotely related to the investigation, has been handed over in full to the Commission.
“The Commission’s update on its work is very difficult for us to read and comprehend, but it is another necessary step on the path to the truth. We have nothing to fear from the truth because, as Jesus himself assures us, the truth always sets us free (cf. Jn. 8:32). Therefore, the Archdiocese will continue to assist the Commission in every way possible until its work is concluded and its Final Report is published.”
Concluding his homily, Archbishop Neary said, “Today, however, those who have suffered are uppermost in our minds and at the very heart of our prayers. May the Lord’s infinite mercy console all those mothers whose children died in the Mother and Baby Home, their families, and all who are affected by and upset by the news which came as a body-blow to us all, and may Mary, the Mother of God, who witnessed the death of her only child on the cross be our comfort and consolation now.”