Exhume bodies from Seán Ross Abbey – Cllr Martin Browne

John Collins (Son of Teresa), Billy Watson (Father of Teresa) and Teresa Collins.

John Collins (Son of Teresa), Billy Watson (Father of Teresa) and Teresa Collins.

After hearing of reports of small bones being ploughed up in the 1980s Cllr Martin Browne of Sinn Féin has called for exhumation and respectful re-interment of young children buried in a mass grave in Seán Ross Abbey, Roscrea.

Cllr Browne said: “With the discovery of proof that 796 young children and babies had died and were buried unmarked in a septic tank in Tuam, our attention naturally turns to similar homes in our own locality. The Bons Secours Mother and Baby home in Tuam was only one such home, that operated in an uncaring Ireland to effectively imprison and stigmatise women who became pregnant without being married.”

“This went on for 4 decades, and in many parts of the country. In Roscrea, a similar home was the Seán Ross Abbey. It operated for about the same period of time as the Tuam home.”

“We like to think that bad things only happen in other places, and that the place down the road from us is just fine. It seems that may not be the case in Seán Ross Abbey in Roscrea.”

“Yesterday Teresa Collins of Portroe visited the home for the first time in 53 years since she was taken from there as a baby. Her family had to pay £100 in 1963 to secure the release of Teresa and her birth-Mother.”

“After several years of effort, and despite the efforts of the Nuns in the home, Teresa has made successful contact with her father in the last year, and the two of them went to the home together on Sunday 12th.”

“While there, Council worker Mike Donovan revealed that he had worked at the home in the 1980’s. When working in what is now the children burial ground, he said that the tractor he was operating ploughed up many bones, small bones, and the job they were engaged in was called off. The whole area is now changed, and this work was carried out by another contractor in the 1990s. The layout of the area in question is  now very different to the 1980s. There are two other areas on the grounds where there as yet unsubstantiated suggestions of unrecorded and mass burial of babies and children.”

“Seán Ross Abbey has to be added next to the list of homes for enquiry. An excavation and exhumation process must now be begun; each human so casually buried in unmarked grave should be recorded and treated with respect.”

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