The selling of Bessboro House and ground is a cause for concern, according to local Cllr Kieran McCarthy. “Any developments should wait for the Mother and Baby Home Commission to finish their work; so everyone has the range of testimonies before them and that informed decisions can be made on the future of such sites such as Bessboro”.
“The house and parts of its environs are earmarked for development in the Mahon Local Area Plan but historically we are dealing with a late eighteenth century house and estate with a vast history. The order of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary set up the Bessboro Mother and Baby Home in 1924 and it lasted till 1996. It is estimated that 8,000 to 10,000 girls and women passed through its doors. In recent years, media reports, secured from the HSE, have revealed the extent of infant mortality in the mid twentieth century – rough estimates highlight that there are 1,200 children are buried in the graveyard in Bessboro”.
Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed comments by Minister Katherine Zappone of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs who last week called for open and consistent communication with former residents of the Irish Mother and Baby Homes on the matters of concern to them. The Minister has committed that the updates will be published in the Mother and Baby Homes section on the Department’s website on the first Friday of every month. Cllr McCarthy has agreed with the Minister’s comment that the public need to have access to the same information at the same time. Minister Katherine Zappone recently invited former residents and their supporters to participate in a facilitated consultation process following the publication of the Second Interim Report of the Commission of Investigation. Over 100 people participated in the initial event on 30 June reflecting the high level of interest in engaging with this process.
Cllr McCarthy continued; “I have called for arrangements for further events to be hosted in locations outside Dublin and across the country. Fourteen Mother and Baby Home and three County Homes are under scrutiny with the Mother and Baby Commission. It is highly important that as many people have an opportunity to have their say on their issues of concern on such Homes”.