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Memorial for 788 babies buried in Tuam orphanage

Declan Tierney

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Tuam babies graveyard.

Research has shown that there are 788 children, from newborns to eight year olds, buried in a graveyard that was attached to an old orphanage in Tuam.

And a group of interested individuals have now established the names of each of the children, what age they were when they died and the causes of their deaths. In is now their intention to erect a memorial in their honour and this will contain the names of each of the 788 children.

The mother and baby home in Tuam, which was operated by the Bon Secours nuns from 1925 to 1961, mainly accommodated single pregnant women who gave birth and left the children in the orphanage.

The children brought up in the orphanage were referred to at the time as ‘the home babies’ as a determined effort is now being made to honour their memory. It was called St. Mary’s but was generally known locally as The Home which was located on the Dublin Road and on which there are now houses.

However, the cemetery still remains and following intensive research, it was discovered that it is the final resting place of hundreds of children.

David Collins, who is part of the committee responsible for restoring the graveyard and providing a memorial plaque, told Tuam Town Council that the names of all the children had been obtained by Catherine Corless, another member of the committee.

He said that remedial works had been carried out in the graveyard and a plaque would be erected. He said that it was hoped that some funding would be provided by Tuam Town Council. Mr. Collins said that it was hoped that the graveyard and memorial would be a place where people would visit on a regular basis and added that he would welcome donations from people of the town. Catherine Corless said that there would be a booklet published detailing the history of the home and it was hoped that this would be placed in the local library.

She said that when the home closed in 1961, a lot of the children were moved to Castlepollard and other industrial schools. She said that many of the children were buried in one corner of the little graveyard. Ms. Corless also complimented the Dooley family who live in the area for maintaining the graveyard over the years.

She said that the children had been buried nameless for more than half a century. Initially it was though that the graveyard was a burial ground for famine victims but Ms. Corless undertook research which confirmed that newborns to eight year olds were buried there from the home.

Cllr. Eamonn Kitt said that it was a very worthwhile initiative and it would “right the wrong” when it came to remembering these children. He complimented the work involved in tracing the names of all of the children buried there.

CITY TRIBUNE

Army removes explosive device in Knocknacarra

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An army Bomb Disposal Team was called to Knocknacarra last night to deal with a ‘viable’ explosive device.

Following a request from Gardai, the unit was tasked with investigating a suspicious device in a laneway off Cappagh Road at around 10pm.

The area was cordoned off and following an examination, the device was deemed viable and made safe.

It was removed from the scene shortly after 10.30pm and was taken to a Defence Forces location where it will undergo further examination.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Hospital worker failed to self isolate after trip to red-list country

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Management at University Hospital Galway have been asked to investigate ‘as a matter of urgency’ an allegation that a security employee at the hospital returned to work within the 14-day restriction period after coming back from a ‘red-list’ country.

The person has already worked at least two shifts at the hospital – including looking after an elderly patient – despite the fact that the restriction period would not have expired until this Sunday, September 20.

The Galway City Tribune can reveal that in a letter from SIPTU official to a senior UHG manager, it is alleged there was breach of protocol over recent days by an employee of an outsourced security company.

According to the letter to Services Manager Geoff Ginnety, while the worker was not covered under HSE employee rules, “they still must comply with the Government issued protocols”.

The letter from SIPTU states that the worker in question had told his colleagues that he was in a red-listed country and that ‘he did not have to restrict his movements’ for 14 days and could return to work.

“I request that you [Services Manager at UHG] address these concerns as a matter of urgency and provide clear guidance on how to deal with the issue,” the SIPTU letter states.

According to information accessed by the Galway City Tribune, the employee in question returned from a red-listed country on September 6 last and underwent a test for Covid-19 five days later on September 11.

Shortly after that, according to his employers, the results of his Covid tests came back as negative. The Galway City Tribune understands that he returned to his night-shift work on Tuesday night, September 15, and also worked the Wednesday night shift of September 16.

This newspaper has also been informed by reliable sources that on his first night back on duty the employee was left in charge of an elderly patient, while on his second night back at work, he was dutied to the Emergency Department.

When contacted by the Galway City Tribune, a spokesperson for the HSE said that they could not comment on issues relating to individual staff.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Leisureland sinks with €20,000 per week losses

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The plug is being pulled on Leisureland – leaving hundreds of swimmers, mostly children, and trainee lifeguards, high and dry.

Galway Salthill Fáilte CLG, the company that operates the publicly-owned facility, has confirmed it plans to shut down its swimming pool and gym, leaving members of six aquatic clubs, hundreds of schoolchildren, and the general public, without an amenity for the foreseeable future.

Swimming clubs fear they will lose a whole generation of young swimmers in Galway if the pool closes. And they have warned that it could end up costing €1 million to repair and reopen the pool after a prolonged closure.

Leisureland blamed the impact of coronavirus for its financial woes, with losses running at an average of €20,000 per week.

The company said that by August it had already spent its annual €300,000 subsidy subvention from Galway City Council, and the local authority has indicated it is not in a position to increase the subsidy further in 2020.

The planned closure – which could result in the furloughing of over 20 staff from next month – has shocked the local aquatic community.

A lengthy hiatus with Leisureland closed will mean Galway will lose a ‘whole generation’ of swimmers, according to Eamon Caulfield, President of Galway Swimming Club and member and former chairperson of Corrib Water Polo Club.

“We’re particularly upset and aggrieved that this is going ahead, it’s shocking. They should be looking to reverse this decision,” he said this week.

The majority of the five aquatic clubs that use the facility (Galway SC, Shark SC, Laser SC and Tribes and Corrib water polo clubs) are made up of children aged 10-18, including some international athletes. Hundreds of children from Galway schools also learn to swim there.

A water safety group has been using the pool every Sunday morning since it opened in 1973, he said.

“Historically it is where Galway gets its lifeguards from. How can you not have swim lessons in a public pool? How can you not have water safety taught in a pool in Galway?

“It beggars belief, we’re on the sea. The water safety people, where are they going to go, how are we going to get lifeguards for beaches? How are we going to get teachers for teaching swimming?” asked Mr Caulfield.

The clubs have roughly 150 members each and generate €150,000 revenue annually for Leisureland.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full version, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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