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Council pressed to issue apology for involvement in Kilrush Mother & Baby Home

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Clare County Council have been pressed to make an official apology for their involvement to the Mother and Baby Home in Kilrush.

Located in Kilrush, the County Clare Nursery Home was the only registered Mother and Baby Home in Clare. It was owned and financed by Clare County Council, 168 children died at the institution over the course of a decade.

Prior to the publication of an article on the subject last week, The Clare Echo contacted Clare County Council to query if it would make an apology for its ownership of the home. “We are reviewing the report of the Commission of Investigation and will issue a statement in due course,” a spokesperson said.

An apology needs to be issued by the local authority, Cllr Shane Talty (FF) stated at Tuesday’s meeting of the West Clare Municipal District, a view which was endorsed by fellow councillors. He recalled that there was great praise voiced regarding the publication of a book reflecting on the Council’s history in December, “we are proud of our history but we have to acknowledge the role of Clare County Council in a dark moment of our history”.

Coupled with an apology, actions must be taken to listen and support individuals from the institution, Cllr Joe Garrihy (FG) believed. “We need to acknowledge the hurt caused and the role the State had in it and our local authority. It leaves you speechless but it is incumbent on us to respond in the proper manner without delay.

Support for the issuing of an apology was voiced by Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) and Cllr Susan Crawford (GP), she added, “we must acknowledge the pain and hurt it caused. It is timely that we look around us in our communities and support those who are the most vulnerable”.

Kilrush representative, Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) admitted he was “struggling as a father” to comprehend how the men involved at the time abandoned the women and children. “It is shocking to the core that this happened”.

Details on what happened in the institutions were described as shocking by Cllr Joe Killeen (FF). “A lot of this took place in the recent past, I support the release of information for those who seek clarity and information that would help them come to grips with their past.

Light has been shed “on what happened to vulnerable women and children within the walls of those homes both in Kilrush and the entire country,” Director of Service Leonard Cleary stated of the commission’s final report. He said its publication “holds a mirror to our past” and added, “we cannot hide from the shameful truths on how we fell short as a country in our treatment of the vulnerable women and children. It is particularly painful that it happened in our own Municipal District”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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