Plans to erect a memorial to the mothers and babies from the County Clare Nursery are progressing.
Records indicate that between 300 to 400 women lived at the Nursery from 1922 to 1932 with considerably more children. Baptismal records suggest 330 children were born there during this period while 168 infants died in this time in what has been described as an “appalling rate” of infant mortality.
It was the only registered Mother and Baby Home in Clare. The facility was owned and financed by Clare County Council.
Kilrush historian, Rita McCarthy who contributed to the final report from the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation previously told The Clare Echo of the need to remember the women and children from the County Nursery
“I feel very strongly that these women and all their children deserve some recognition. There must be some memorial for the women and children. We need to remember at least look and say this happened in our town behind the gates of the Workhouse and these were the conditions the people were in,” she stated.
As councillors called on the local authority to issue a formal apology over the coming weeks, acting senior executive officer with the West Clare Municipal District, John O’Malley confirmed the Council’s intention to put a memorial in place.
Addressing the West Clare MD meeting on Tuesday evening, he said that a meeting had been held earlier that morning with Rita McCarthy and the Mayor of Clare, Cllr Mary Howard (FG) on the topic of the memorial. “I’ve been charged with leading this project to find an appropriate location that is sensitive and appropriate. It will be prompt, it is not something that will take a long period of time to get worked on but it needs to be sensitive to everyone’s feelings,” he stated.
Director of Service, Leonard Cleary added that the memorial would serve as a “gesture” to acknowledge the pain and suffering from the institution but also to educate the public on the county’s history.
Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) acknowledged the commitment from Council Chief Executive Pat Dowling to have a memorial in Kilrush and the input of McCarthy to the report and to establish a memorial, “It has to be marked”.