A dark chapter in Ireland’s recent history can still be found under the grass growing in Roscrea’s Sean Ross Abbey (pictured), used in the 1950’s as a “mother baby” home.
In a mass grave lie the remains of dozens of young women and babies, who died in child birth. They lie today in an area called the ‘Angels Plot’, in unmarked graves, their names forgotten. One survivor of this era has come forward to tell the Tipperary Star she and others will use “all available legal means” to ensure that those graves are preserved and cherished.
“I am an adopted person and I wish to object in the strongest possible manner to the sale of Sean Ross Abbey,” says Collette Chambers. “There are several reasons why this sale should not proceed. There are an unknown number of infants and children buried on the grounds as well as the grave of Michael Hess/Anthony Lee and as such, it is entirely unsuitable for development. These graves and the Angels Plot which contain the remains of hundreds and hundreds of babies and children, are of national and historic importance. Furthermore, the Angels Plot is of vital importance to all survivors of the Adoption Industry in Ireland.”
Collette Chambers said there were special provisions made during the sale of Sean Ross Abbey’s sister site in Castlepollard, County Westmeath, when the Order of Sacred Heart Nuns sold that Mother and Baby Home in 1970.
“It was a condition of the sale that the Angels Plot could not be touched,” says Ms Chambers. “We demand the same conditions of sale and further demand a condition that all persons with an interest in the graves be given guaranteed 24-hour access to Sean Ross Abbey and including a provision that any subsequent sales would also include such conditions. Also may I add that there are many children who are buried in this site that are still not known, or their direct burial not known. In the first year of opening, 120 children were born, 60 of whom died. Where are their graves?
“We demand full ownership of the Angels Plot and any other graves (marked and unmarked) be handed over to a Trust Committee of adoptees and Mothers who will maintain the graves of our lost brothers, sisters and children,” Ms Chambers told the Tipperary Star.
Full story in this week’s Tipperary Star.