As Pope Francis begins saying mass at the Phoenix Park at 3pm this Sunday, more than 200 kilometres away in Tuam, survivors and families of the infants of the town’s infamous mother and baby home, and their supporters, will gather for a peaceful vigil.
There’ll be a procession from the Square in Tuam, up the Dublin Road to the site where hundreds of babies were buried at the former religious-run institution. They’ll light candles, and leave memorabilia, including children’s shoes, at the site; and there’ll be a rollcall of the 796 names of the children buried there.
A sculpture two feet in diameter in the shape of a baptismal font made up of miniature babies, donated by Belgian sculptor, Martine Stark, will be placed at the site.
“You could say it’s kind of a funeral for them,” said Catherine Corless, the historian who revealed the mass graves.
One woman in England, Annette McKay, whose sister is buried at the site, has been campaigning since Ms Corless broke the story.
“If she had to stand alone she was going to do it. I said we would all come onboard. We’re expecting a good crowd. It’s a peaceful vigil, to coincide with the mass in Phoenix Park, to put awareness out there about the babies in the septic tank in Tuam in the hope that the Pope, as well as addressing the victims of sex abuse, will also address the survivors of mother and baby homes around the country and in Tuam in particular,” she said.
Ms Corless said that “deep down we believe the Government are trying to cover this over as quietly as they can and to minimise the fact that so many children are lying in that area, both in the tank and in the grounds that are being walked on.”
Survivors hope Pope Francis will acknowledge the Tuam babies during his visit.
“The Vatican really and truly have to wake up to the facts of what happened in Ireland and other countries, as well as the paedophilia there was so much wrongdoing with the church and religious orders and the State.
“I believe that it would carry a lot of weight if Pope Francis were to say that he acknowledges that the babies are buried in Tuam in an unchristian fashion and that he is aware of it and he is aware that survivors are still waiting for justice. Just to mention that in his homily in the Phoenix Park would carry a lot of weight,” she added.
Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.
Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer
On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.
Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.
While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.
“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.
“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”
Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!
Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.
But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.
The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.
She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.
The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.
“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.
“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”
Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery
Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.
But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.
The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.
To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.
“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.
But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.
Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie