zondag, december 30, 2018


Tuam excavation: Government unsure what it is ‘getting into’

Varadkar says work on mother-and-baby home site to begin in second half of year

The home was a big presence in her own childhood, and her own uncomfortable memories about the home's children are what sparked her research. She remembers seeing the 8ft-high wall on her way to school. "They surrounded it completely – stone walls. There was broken glass cemented into the top of the walls. It used to glisten in the sun. The kids couldn't get out. I would have been six or seven. I remember the kids going to school – the noise of them marching in their big clogs." Corless wore proper shoes, but the home children wore wooden shoes. "They were long-wearing. Everybody remembers the noise of the clogs."

Royal de Luxe opstand van de paspoppen 
There were children from the home at her convent primary school. She remembers the nuns' coldness towards the children, a coldness that bred disrespect among the other schoolchildren, including in her own mind. "People remember being told by the nuns that they would be put beside a home baby if they didn't behave themselves. They openly displayed that these children were different. It was an open form of humiliation. They were born illegitimate, therefore they were bad," she said.

She feels uneasy about her behaviour towards the children. "I thought it would be funny to copy a trick played by an older girl – she had wrapped up an empty sweet paper and handed it to a home girl. The little girl grabbed it, of course. There was nothing in it. At the time, being seven, being the butt of teasing myself, I thought this was great fun. I did the same and handed it to another girl – a stone wrapped in a sweet paper. She opened it and dropped it.

"When I found out later about the home children, that God help them, they'd never got a sweet in their life, they wouldn't have got any treats in the home … It's only now I realise the impact that must have had on that little girl – to think that she was getting a treat, and that someone was just playing a mean trick on her.

"I feel that the nuns should have told us that these were special children, to take care of them, to mind them. That would have been the proper thing to have done. Instead of that, they treated them differently. They ignored them, more than anything. I don't remember them being hostile. They were ignored. They were left to one side of the classroom."
"People say that families were wrong to throw out their daughters [when they got pregnant outside marriage]. I agree with that. But it must not be forgotten that the church put those laws in place, saying that sex outside marriage was sinful. They blamed the women – they didn't blame the men who did it, just the women for leading them on. They got that into the mindset of the people. They would preach it every Sunday at mass, so that families would feel ashamed to show a pregnant daughter. I blame them for that – for putting women through so much misery, and ostracising them if they became pregnant outside marriage. Then for their children to be ostracised as well – that, to me, was a crime."

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