In producing The HedgeRadio Podcast, we are always researching and looking out for stories. Sometimes you end up parking stories until you get more information or until you can make sense of them. But with our latest episode, Not sponsored by The Sisters of Bon Secours, we felt compelled to tell it as we wanted to add voices to a campaign for justice for survivors of the Mother and Baby Homes. We spoke to Deirdre Wadding, a local Wexford woman who had spent time in not one but two mother and baby homes as a very young woman in the early eighties. She very bravely told us her story and we are very grateful to Deirdre for being so open and brave.
Here is the context for why we decided to tackle the mother and baby homes on the podcast. A number of years ago a Galway woman and local historian named Catherine Corless discovered that possibly up to eight hundred dead babies were buried in an unused waste water treatment system near the site of the Tuam mother and baby home. There was understandably a public outcry when she published her gruesome findings. This led to a commission of investigation being set up by the then Irish government to uncover the extent of the secrecy surrounding these mostly church run institutions. The report took five years to compile, cost €11 million and was 3000 pages long - but for the survivors it failed to address their grievances.
As you can imagine there has been a lot of media coverage of the report and of course Catherine Corless has been asked on more than one occasion for her opinion on it. Again I don’t want to speak for Catherine but she did call for more voices to be added to the requests for honesty and accountability in all of this rather distressing part of our shared history. Chris, one of the producers of our podcast heard this appeal from Catherine and we decided to try and tell Deirdre’s story.
Photo by the blowup on Unsplash
In the episode we also spoke to Dr. Linda Lynch, an osteo-archaeologist, who worked on the archaeological report of the site of the burials in the Tuam Mother and baby home. Linda gave some wonderful insight into traditions of burials in Ireland and their importance to us as a society, which of course really emphasized just how hideous it was for supposedly holy people to dispose of young babies in such a manner as an unused waste water treatment system.