Ireland to lay bare scandal of baby deaths at Church-run homes
Published: Jan 12, 2021 05:13 PM
An Irish inquiry into alarming death rates among newborns at church-run homes for unwed mothers will hand down its final report on Tuesday, laying bare one of the Catholic Church's darkest chapters and leading to demands for state compensation.

The Church's reputation in Ireland has been shattered by a series of scandals over pedophile priests, abuse at workhouses, forced adoptions of illegitimate babies and other painful issues.

Pope Francis begged forgiveness for the scandals during the first papal visit to the country in almost four decades in 2018.

The remains of 802 children, from newborns to three-year-olds, were buried between 1925 and 1961 in just one of the so-called Mother and Baby Homes, a 2017 interim report found. Then-Prime Minister Enda Kenny described the burial site at Tuam, in the western county of Galway, as a "chamber of horrors."

Enda Kenny, then Ireland's prime minister, speaks during the Dublin Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland, on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. Photo: VCG

The inquiry was launched six years ago after evidence of an unmarked mass graveyard at Tuam was uncovered by amateur local historian Catherine Corless, who said she had been haunted by childhood memories of skinny children from the home. Relatives have alleged the babies were mistreated because they were born to unmarried women who, like their children, were seen as a stain on Ireland's image as a devout Catholic nation.

Government records show that the child mortality rate at the homes was more than five times that of married homes.
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