Infant death in Tuam


I remember hearing the artist Robert Ballagh suggest that we drop the term ‘United Ireland’ and substitute something like ‘An Agreed Ireland’. His reason? There are certain trigger words that  send people into defensive mode or sometimes a little bit mad, and all clear thinking on the subject flies out the window.

He has a point. Take a term that’s in the news at present: mass grave. There’s no logical reason for assuming that a mass grave contains the remains of people who were illegally killed and then buried, but the term has that connotation. Maybe that’s the reason so many people, particularly in the south of Ireland, are filled with outrage at the discovery of the remains of some 800 infants in a home run by the Sisters of the Bon Secours in Tuam Co Galway. The infants were buried there over a period between 1925 and 1961.

The fact that the burials took place over a 35-year period diminishes the sense of horror just a little – the image of 800 small bodies being dumped together is removed. But only a little. Read the newspapers and you’ll find articles and letters condemning this terrible act and saying that a thorough-going inquiry should be launched in Tuam and throughout Ireland.

Homes like the Bon Secours in Tuam were for young unmarried women who were pregnant. They went to these homes to have their babies because society then saw it as totally shaming for a woman to give birth outside wedlock. The nuns, it’s reasonable to say, took in those whom the rest of society rejected. Except that a particular statistic causes alarm bells to ring: the instances of child mortality – within a few months of birth – were five times higher in these homes than in the general population. It’s hard not to conclude that these women and their babies didn’t receive the care they should have. However, a woman who’s done research into these matters was on RTÉ’s Prime Time last night making the point that, because of the numbers of babies in these homes and because of the rows of cots in which they lay, disease in one quickly travelled the length of the ward and became  the disease, sometimes fatal, of all.

The death of anyone is an irreparable loss.  The death of an infant is uniquely heart-breaking. But it seems to me we need to step round the trigger words and deal with the facts of this case.

If the homes were seen as grim places, they were grim places created by the state and run by the nuns; so blame for conditions rests with the society of the time.

We have no evidence that these babies were allowed to die through lack of care, even though the mortality rate in the homes was so horribly high.

Pregnant women went to these places to have their baby because the society in which they lived damned them for having had sexual relations outside marriage. The Catholic Church denounced them too, but it was a denunciation totally supported by the society generally.

Another way of talking about mass graves might be “people buried together”. We bury people together nowadays – in family plots, for example – and such burials are seen as compassionate rather than heartless. Behind the notion of mass graves is the notion that the dead bodies of these infants were treated without respect.

It is true that we traditionally show respect to the corpse. But is that not something we do for ourselves rather than the dead person? When you’re dead, you are beyond everything – disrespect, respect, well-tended grave,  sewage pit – to the dead person none of this matters. I know a man who is conventional in most things but who says he doesn’t care if they put him in a plastic bag and dump it in Belfast Lough when he dies – it won’t matter to him. We have developed burial rituals in order to console ourselves, not to help the dead person, because we can’t.

There’s the well-worn danger that we’ll judge this event from the past by the standards of the present. People cluck-cluck their tongues about the ostracising of unmarried mothers in those days. If they had been living at the time, are they quite sure they wouldn’t have accepted society’s attitude then and cluck-clucked with the best of them?

Final thought. Which makes more sense, to mount inquiries into the manner of burial of the dead or to strive to create a society that respects and supports the living?  I think I know what Father Peter McVerry would say to that.

53 Responses to Infant death in Tuam

  1. Francis D June 6, 2014 at 9:46 am #

    These unmarried mothers were ostrisized by Church and State who were almost inseparable. The prevailing clucking in Society you refer to was prevailent of course, but it was the State that had the ultimate responsibility to protect the ‘Children of the Nation’ in actuality, and not just figuratively. The massive disparity between the infant mortality rate in these grim institutions, and the general demographic outside these morgues, meant that for whatever the reasons, proximity ect cited, a mass of Children were dying without a forensic assessment of why, with swift measures implemented to address this ongoing tradgedy. No matter how one dresses it up as being simply a resultant reflection of Societal predujices endemic in Irish society then which saw these hapless mothers with their jepordized infants in these homes in the first place, the Catholic Church wedded to the State are and were ultimately culpable for this tradgedy of horrible proportions. Being ‘Social Pariahs’ should not have doomed these people and vulnerable as they were it should have been the case they would have had a greater survival rate in the Care of the Church and State, not less so.

    • Jude Collins June 6, 2014 at 11:24 am #

      Good points, Francis. I wonder what was provision for women in similar circumstances in England at the time? Or Scotland or Wales? That might help establish how things could have been done better here.

      • Virginia June 6, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

        I wonder what was provision for women in similar circumstances in Northern Ireland?

      • Teri June 8, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

        Jude, I know that here in Scotland society frowned upon unmarried mothers and homes existed here too. I think you will find it was the same throughout the UK. I don’t know if they were run by the state or the church but conditions would be much the same as in Ireland. The thinking of the state and society was just the same as in Ireland.

  2. Réaltán Ní Leannáin June 6, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    Maybe it would have been better if this piece had stayed on your hard drive for another day or two. Enough mothers are still alive to be hurt by this cool reaction. Many more children who have found that they originated in these houses of slavery are still alive to be hurt by it. Many of those children with dead siblings are alive to be hurt by it. Many people married to or in partnership with people who belong to any of the aforementioned categories will be hurt by it. All of these 796 little bodies are 796 ripples in the pool of life, by their death.

    • Jude Collins June 6, 2014 at 10:47 am #

      Thanks for your thoughts, Réaltán. If I sounded ‘cool’ in my reaction, it was in an effort to move round trigger words, as I’ve made clear. I don’t think I’ve indicated any lack of feeling for the mothers or the babies, other than to point out that we can get very upset by the past while nothing is said of our present society. We can’t change what’s done; we can critique and even change for the better the lives of the living.

  3. Patrick Kelly June 6, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    This made the headlines a couple of years ago.

  4. Iolar June 6, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    It may be useful to reflect on the legacy of Dr Noel Browne. In his memoir, ‘Against the Tide’ (1986) he advocated left wing secular ideas when the State was conservative and Catholic. The Irish State was keen to hijack the legacy of Connolly in order to portray him as a nationalist rather than as a socialist and an internationalist. Dr Browne was critical of mercenary attitudes prevalent among some doctors who expected to be paid for every thing they did and every patient they treated. Nurses and nuns had vocations. Dr Browne’s personal mission was to eradicate Tuberculosis in Ireland and create a world class system of healthcare. Prior to his death, Dr Browne appeared on Raidió Teilifís Éireann. He discussed his political role in Clann na Poblachta and the fact that The Mother and Child Scheme generated a political crisis involving the Irish Government and the Catholic Church. In a moving, articulate discussion, he explained to viewers that he was advised by a nun that church property should not be used for, “the lower orders”. In 2014 the provision of healthcare remains a source of dispute in the Republic of Ireland. The title of Dr Browne’s memoir is thought provoking, as only dead fish swim with the tide. Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann.

  5. Jude Collins June 6, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    Good point well made, Iolar. I do think the Mother and Child thing showed the Catholic Church (and state) in all their right-wing unattractiveness;

  6. giordanobruno June 6, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    “Behind the notion of mass graves is the notion that the dead bodies of these infants were treated without respect.”
    Surely an unmarked grave ( a septic tank) is the disrespect rather than the fact they were buried together. Only one that we know of was returned to a family plot.
    Your final paragraph makes no sense.
    Is it either, enquire about the dead, or help the living? Should we not do both?

    • Jude Collins June 6, 2014 at 11:56 am #

      Gio -to start at the end – you should know by now that I always make sense. Read it again – I say ‘which makes more sense’. Of course there’s room for both but I would maintain that there’s an imbalance between care for the living and concern for those who have died. I’m not diminishing the horror of what happened,but there are trigger words here too. Were they buried in a septic tank that was being used as a septic tank then? That is indeed revolting and yes, while it doesn’t matter to you if you’re dead, I would like most people cling to some respect for the remains. If they were buried in unmarked graves, on the other hand, it’s sad but not so ghastly. We have wars were millions get slaughtered and then neat crosses are erected in long white lines. Meanwhile the actual remains are lying scattered over some foreign field. Why don’t we hear outrage at that every Remembrance Sunday? In fact every day of every week. But I’m straying from the point. “Behind the notion of mass graves is the notion that the dead bodies of these infants were treated without respect.” – well, that’s what comes into my mind. Mass grave, throw them in, cover up. But if the dead babies were buried in the same plot over a period of 30+ years, ‘mass grave’ is slightly misleading. Anyway, I look forward to you doing a guest blog on the living , OK?

      • giordanobruno June 6, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

        Thanks for the offer. I’m more of a hurler in the ditch really.
        The last paragraph did seem like a bit of deflection to me, bearing in mind that you yourself frequently blog about those who have died in unexplained circumstances, so I see no reason to question the sense of this enquiry.
        I can only echo what Réaltán Ní Leannáin has said above. No family deserves to hear that this is how the body of their loved one was dealt with.
        And if it was the case that they were buried together in a humane fashion rather than dumped in a mass grave then there would be a record surely?

        • ted harris June 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

          Jude, you seemed to be great at firing the shots when it comes to British abuses in the North but not so great at taking them when it comes to abuses in the South. Such mealy mouthed jibberish about the Tuam scandal. Society of the time? Ah yes, we were only following orders! Pathetic when you consider the power the Catholic Church had in the the State and which the poor were and cowered into following. No wonder Protestants were afraid of Rome rule. Really, you’ll have to do better than that

          • Jude Collins June 11, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

            Ted – just so you know – you’re not the teacher and I’m not the wee boy at the back so maybe you’d take your ‘have to do better than that’ and put it to some other use. As a general rule I can judge the quality of argument by the amount of abuse it contains – yours does well on the latter and not so hot on the former. You think the society of the time – or any time – doesn’t influence thinking? I suggest you read some social history – or if you’re old enough, remember the things that were accepted as fine when you were younger and at which we now as a society recoil. One of the characteristics of Irish society currently is that it really loves Catholic Church-bashing. It’s so eeeeassssy…Of course the Catholic Church is guilty of wrong-doing, power abuse and child abuse. So too was society in Ireland north and south.

  7. Wolfe tone June 6, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    These graves are a shame in all of us. Just like the child abuse scandals that have went before us and possibly continue, all Irish people should be ashamed of ourselves. We should be ashamed not because we participated in these acts , but rather we should be ashamed if we allow them to be ignored or airbrushed out of the way.
    It’s obvious irish people had a different way of ‘cherishing all the children of the nation equally’ all those years ago. Sadly these same people probably and shamefully extolled the virtues of Connolly,pearse etc to obtain power and privilege in the free state.
    I have heard allegations that free staters don’t want us in the north and are not interested in a united ireland. I would counter that they would need northerners to sort out the liars,crooks,and greedy criminal types that seem to resonate in the corridors of power in the free state. I would also counter that this shameful carry on has set a united ireland back more than the Ira ever did, because why would our Protestant country people want to entertain the notion of letting the type of people who ignore these treacherous deeds, become their rulers?
    The arrogance at the way the free stater looks at us in the north, on how we conduct our lives, is breathtaking when one looks at how they have run their arrogantly named ‘republic of Ireland’.

    • Jude Collins June 6, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

      I’m with you virtually all the way, WT. The 1% would be that our Protestant/unionist fellow-countrymen and women would see themselves as ruled by these people in a UI. Every effort should be made to correct that notion – as you’ve just outlined, a UI would mean a new Ireland, not rule of the 6 by the 26…

    • paul June 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

      WT, eloquently stated. When i think of the free state, the word ‘sanctiminious’ springs to mind. The ‘republic’ is ashamed of their past fight for independence, tries to downplay the harm that British misrule has caused and unwaveringly supports the church. The state;s complicity in the abuse that occurred in the Magdalene laundries and Industrial schools is a blight that will not go away. I think the ‘nonapology’ and then ‘weak apology’ by Kenny over the laundries is a prime example. As for the north, I too hope for a new Ireland, united in territory representative of all.

  8. William Fay June 6, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

    Jude, I have to disagree with your article on a number of aspects.
    Because these deaths happened over a 35 year period, you suggest that diminishes the impact. I’m sorry, but I believe the opposite. Because the RoI government, society in general and the church allowed this to go on for so long makes it many times worse. Yes, you may be allowed some leniency in the fact that disease would be more prevalent in these homes, but if that is the case, where are the records of the church asking for medical assistance. I would suggest the evidence points to criminality, and why is the southern government not treating this as a potential crime scene.
    As for the mass grave, the Tuam FF TD, whose name escapes me at the moment, was speaking on radio this morning. He is a local Tuam man, who was told as a child that the mass grave was a famine graveyard! That was the theory widely accepted in the local society, so there was a definite attempt of a cover-up. I would suggest this may be only the first of many of these types of graves, and a lot more questions need to be answered. The southern government from partition was more concerned in supporting the IRA in the north and pointing the finger at the Stormont government, when the reality was their own state was rotten to the core. ‘Ne Temere’ was instigated to dilute and diminish the Southern Protestant minority, and many young catholic girls in relationships with Protestant boys were forced into these homes, I can name some of these families. Hundreds of millions have been spent on a few enquiries in the north, when will the southern government have a good, hard look at itself?
    I wonder why Northern Protestants didn’t want to part of this failed southern state.

    • wolfe tone June 6, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

      William Fay, i agree with almost everything you have stated concerning this scandal ie the state,church and society involved in a cover up. However where i have to disagree is your view that southern governments were ‘more concerned in supporting the IRA’. It is simply wishful thinking that any free state government seriously supported the IRA in the north. As a matter of fact its almost laughable. Just because certain politicians were involved in feeble gun running scandals etc doesnt mean the state supported the IRA and i can assure you that any republican who had the misfortune to be in the custody of a ‘heavy gang’, during the troubles, would tell you a far different story.
      Is it not strange william that these IRA supporters as you keep alluding to in the free state have shown recently their animosity and indeed hatred of any northern republican getting within a whiff of power in the south? It doesnt make sense that sinn fein have continued to get a rough ride by former government ministers and TD’s and yet you suggest these same people ‘supported the IRA’?
      The IRA didnt cause everything on this island william. I would say the catholic church has caused a lot of pain down through the years and i believe these scandals that emanate from religious institutions have set the prospects of unification back somewhat.
      Just for the record william it doesnt matter if it was protestant or catholic kids in these homes, it is still an absolute disgrace and we all should be ashamed. However these infants died, it does not excuse their lack of a christian burial. And i also believe this episode is not a one off sadly.

    • Jude Collins June 6, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

      William – unlike Wt I disagree with you on several points. My only point about the deaths being spread over 30+ years is that we usually respond with more horror to a high number of deaths at one point than to the same number spread over time. You may well be right that the nuns should have asked for assistance. Maybe they did and didn’t get it. Or maybe they didn’t because they knew they wouldn’t get it. I doubt if either of us know. If there’s evidence of criminality I”d agree – it should be investigated. As to the Tuam man and the locals being told it was a famine graveyard: I think you maybe don’t know enough Galway people. You think they wouldn’t notice and distinguish between graves dug 80 years earlier and graves dug a few days earlier? They’re far from gullible yokels in that part of the country. As to the southern government supporting the IRA – pleasw. I think WT has explained that to you. “Catholic girls in relationships with Protestant boys were forced into these homes’? I think being pregnant would have been considered the crime rather than the father of the child (who appears to have got off lightly as somebody earlier pointed out). ‘Ne temere’ was indeed a bone of contention in the south. I can see how Protestants would consider it an attack on their faith and numbers in the south; I can also see how the Catholic Church might argue that it wanted the children of a Catholic parent to be Catholic – reasonable enough too. Your last sentence shows you have no concept of what the whole Irish unity movement is about. The very idea of the north being ‘part of’ the south in a UI is one that would be rejected out of hand by any nationalist or republican who’d thought about for longer than ten seconds.

      • William Fay June 7, 2014 at 8:42 am #

        Jude, wrong again on your point about the war graves. A cross is in place for every every identified body, either by their ID tags or positive identification. If there was no body then the soldier is remembered by name usually on the entrance to the cemetery.
        In reference to the Tuam TD, his words not mine, so maybe you should refer that point to him. “Tuam was not unique in Ireland as a mother and baby home…The history of mother and baby homes in Ireland…reflect a brutally unforgiving response by society, religious and state institutions and, in many cases, families, to young women and children when they were most in need and most vulnerable.” Quote by Children’s Minister Charlie Flanagan in today’s iIrish Times; it is estimated that there were approximately 8-10 of these homes, there may be some unpleasant reading in the future.
        Thankyou for scolding me on the issue of a united Ireland ethos, I believe I have a reasonable grasp of the situation, unlike some whose points I read on here. Since partition, the southern governments consistently supported the IRA, either by blindly ignoring their activities or outright assistance. Believe it or not, Charlie Haughey’s government were the first to take on the provies, as the penny had by now dropped as to their agenda. Maybe you and some of your fellow bloggers should visit Dublin and view some of the recently released government documents.

        • wolfe tone June 7, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

          Ah william you continue to contradict yourself so much it is becoming boring. Either the free state supported the IRA or it didnt, which is it? The utterances attributed to yourself, more and more look like something you get out of a manual. This ‘research’ of yours has got you busy.[kitson manual?] ; )
          I would much prefer to read the government documents of successive london regimes if you dont mind. Alas the deep state wont release them. Is there any chance you could lobby or have a word with someone to release a few files in the interests of fairness you understand?

          • William Fay June 8, 2014 at 12:40 am #

            I really think wolfe you actually don’t understand what you are talking about, my posts are clear, my thoughts are clear, and I definitely don’t contradict myself. Maybe boredom is starting to set in

          • wolfe tone June 8, 2014 at 11:51 am #

            Some day william you will be allowed to answer a question put to you. The british are full of contradictions when it comes to this squalid little state and you are no exception. Its not your fault, its culturally normal practice.

          • William Fay June 8, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

            Thanks wolfe, your arrogance underwhelms me.

  9. ben madigan June 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

    the whole topic is heart-rending. I wonder when the irish people will find the guts and dignity to stand up for themselves against such babaric attitudes towards women and children hell will make no difference .
    Here’s what I wrote on “An Sionnach” yesterday evening as a comment on the same topic

    The only thing that will make a difference is convincing people to walk – not go to mass, not have first communions etc, have registry office weddings or no weddings at all – no donations to catholic charities because we don’t know if they are doing the same things in Africa, Latin America or wherever they have “missions”. Evidence is certainly pointing that way
    Irish people should have the confidence and guts to react to such betrayal of their trust

    As for the defence argument “but there are/were so many “good” priests and nuns”.
    Maybe there are/were but they weren’t enough to stop the horrors.
    Maybe there were some nazis who objected to the holocaust, some hardline communists who objected to stalin’s purges. Tried to do their best
    We stll don’t excuse/justify the holocaust or the purges or support the regimes that carried them out.
    No one accepts that “a few bad apples” in the RUC created havoc. The force was disbanded because of its behaviour.

    Why are we still accepting the Catholic Church’s excuse of a “few bad apples” disguised as “some good uns”?

    Please have a look at two posts I made on the subject some time ago. They explain the mentaility behind this behaviour and its consequences

    • Alan June 8, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

      William, the “failed southern state” at least learned from its mistakes and moved on from religious lunacy.

      Not so the north. How many of Protestant religious nutters in the north will be marching in their thousands this July about a sectarian battle hundreds of years ago?

      The south learns from its mistakes; the northern unionist runs from modernity like a vampire exposed to light.

  10. Cal June 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    I think a cool reaction is to be commended. At the moment we have a lot of innuendo and very little else.

    Drawing attention to contemporary circumstances and propensity for disease in such living conditions is entirely valid.

    I was hoping Jude would cover this subject and expected a calm, thoughtful response – I was not disappointed.

    • William Fay June 6, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

      Ok, maybe they are not real bones in the grave, maybe it’s all fabrication, I’m sure Sinn Fein could create a plausible story.

      • Jude Collins June 6, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

        Very droll, William. You’re a loss to stand-up comedy.

      • Ceannaire June 6, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

        William, you’ll use any chance for a “dig”, won’t you? It says a lot about who you really are.

        Ok, I’ll bite. Now, explain how and why “Sinn Fein could create a plausible story” could, or even would, “create a plausible story” here.

        Are you really so afraid of a political party that it seems it consumes every thought? You are stuck in a past life, William, dear friend. Your constant mention of the IRA proves that.

        William, they are gone, no longer here. You don’t want to accept that because life was easier then, wasn’t it? Everything in your head added up then. Now that they have left the stage you can’t handle it and just wish them back – for old certainties sake.

        Now, if we could only say the same about the pro British gangsters.

        • William Fay June 7, 2014 at 8:45 am #

          Ceanaire, calm down, just being slightly sarcastic. I noticed you still got your wee bit of anti Brit in at the end, who is stuck in the past?

          • Ceannaire June 7, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

            Thanks for your reply, William.

            The last sentence was not about the past. It is about the present. And certainly nothing to do with being “anti Brit” – unless off course you equate criticism of Loyalist gangsters as being anti British.

    • Jude Collins June 6, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

      Thank you, Cal. I’m glad to see someone hasn’t been ignited by a trigger word…

  11. paddykool June 6, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    Jude et al :
    I was reminded while reading your excellent piece in relation to the deaths of those children that good Irishmen from the north and south went to America for a new life and in doing so threatened and obliterated the Native Indians there. It wasn’t just that they were intruding in a place where they didn’t belong , nor that they killed the native population with new age weapons Apparently there were more deaths because of the diseases that were carried by the immigrant settlers. Chicken pox and measles, though common and rarely fatal among Europeans, often proved deadly to Native Americans. Smallpox proved particularly deadly to Native American populations. Epidemics often immediately followed European exploration, sometimes destroying entire villages.

    It is very easy for us in our exalted, learned 21st century position to judge the mores and moralities of past times when science, fears and moral ideas were very different. That doesn’t mean we roll over and accept what may have been criminal behaviour but this needs to be dispassionately dissected .If there was a cover up , expose it .The church always had too much input into political life in Ireland , north and south and religion is always a means of control. Witness the latest debacle in the north over the Muslims, where religion sucked up all the airtime for two weeks.There is no political capital or point-scoring to be made of 800 deaths, 800 bereaved mothers and 800 families left to grieve. This kind of thing can happen anywhere at any time ….north or south or anywhere else in this benighted world..

  12. Theresa Watson June 6, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

    The first thing that crossed my mind was why was these girls in a home? Where or who was the fathers? Were they the paragons of society that the catholic priests covered up for. It’s not so much the ‘mass graves’ but the mass hypocrisy behind them

    • Jude Collins June 6, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

      I agree completely with that, Theresa. But it has ever been thus. Man: a bit of a lad. Woman: bit of a slut. Completely double standards.

  13. RJC June 6, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    Your articles are nothing if not thought provoking, Mr Collins.

    A lot of liberal hep cats in Dublin and beyond are always incredibly quick to knock the Catholic Church for the stranglehold which they had (and continue to have to a much lesser extent) over Irish life of the 20th Century. It goes without saying that a huge number of appalling crimes have been committed under the auspices of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

    Religious orders appear to have higher standards of care placed upon them than political systems. I guess this stands to reason, given that it is the Church which will stand up and tell us ‘Thou shat not do this, Thou shalt not do that etc’. As well as being a failing of the Catholic Church in Ireland, this Tuam business is also a failing of the state. It is the obligation of the state to look after its most vulnerable.

    People can be quick to hurl stones and abuse at the Catholic Church, but I don’t see anybody pointing the finger at Éamon de Valera, John Costello, Seán Lemass et al. If the Catholic Church can be held responsible today for crimes committed 60 years ago, does it not follow then that so too can political parties?

  14. Jude Collins June 6, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

    Thank you, RJC – no need for the formalities – Jude, patron saint of hopeless cases will do just dandy. I think you’re right in all the points you make. The Catholic Church was a right-wing force in Ireland for decades – still is to a lesser extent. That said, there are some outstandingly good priests and nuns who get tarred with the same brush as the wicked within their ranks. I really find it hard to put up with that kind of mindless Church-bashing. Dev and other southern politicians paid hypocritical lip-service about concern for the north. If ever there was a state that needs reform it is the 26 counties…Oh wait a minute – I forgot about the one we live in. It could use a few changes too. Answer = UI. QED…Keep commenting, RJC- I always enjoy reading your thoughts on things.

    • RJC June 6, 2014 at 10:04 pm #

      Ha! Thank you for your kind words Mr Collins (I’ll keep that nomenclature if you don’t mind, this is a classroom after all) but I would not read too much into my drunken ramblings. These are just the idle thoughts of an idle fellow.

      I was born in Dublin in 1976, so any understanding I attempt to have of ‘The Situyayshon’ in the North and ‘Ulster’ of the past x years derives from primary or secondary sources. If there is a similar blog to yours putting forth the Unionist argument I would be all ears. Does such a magical place exist?

      • Virginia June 6, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

        Brilliant question, hopefully someone will answer for us.

      • giordanobruno June 7, 2014 at 7:06 am #

        i suppose ATangledWeb is the closest to a mirror image of Jude.
        Where Jude wields a rapier, David Vance prefers a cudgel.
        And of course Jude spreads his propaganda, I mean wisdom, with a great deal more charm.
        Many consider Sluggerotoole to be Unionist though I always think you get a good view of all sides there, especially in the comments. Very informative.

        • RJC June 7, 2014 at 9:28 am #

          Thanks gio – I am unaware of this David Vance character so I shall investigate when I get a moment. Should I wear a helmet?

          I do read Slugger from time to time, but something about it irks me which I can’t quite put my finger on. I don’t really consider it to be ‘Unionist’ although I would see it as being of the letsgetalongerist school, which I guess is de facto Unionism.

          At least there are a lot of different voices there, but sorting the what from the chaff amidst the clamour below the line can get a bit tiresome. I think I might have said it before, but the ‘SeanUiNeill’ commentator on SO’T I find very entertaining and informative.

          I am by no means an SF acolyte, but the Anti-SF line continually peddled by the bould Mick has the effect of making him appear a little foolish, I think.

          • RJC June 7, 2014 at 9:29 am #

            Argh – ‘wheat’ not ‘what’ in that post above. Need more coffee.

          • giordanobruno June 7, 2014 at 10:12 am #

            Yes full armour would be advisable. You may feel like a shower when you come away. On reflection, I would say just don’t go there!
            Slugger is the best out there I think, though over the years a lot of good contributors both blogging and in the comments have got fed up I suppose and left.
            Mick may be Unionist, I’m not sure, but he does provide a space for all opinions.
            As you say there is a lot of chaff, but I still find a lot of good stuff there.

          • SeaanUiNeill June 8, 2014 at 11:05 am #

            THank you for the endorsement, RJC! We can but try….

          • RJC June 8, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

            Ah, there you are! I sometimes find myself trawling through Slugger threads to seek out your words of wit and wisdom. You must have the patience of a saint to put up with that Fealty fella…

          • SeaanUiNeill June 10, 2014 at 7:20 am #

            Well, I’m descended from St Ninian according to family tradition, but it’s the first time anyone has actually called me a Saint. Perhaps a Flann O’Brian saint a la “At Swim”…….

            As for MIck, I think he’s just desperate to see the old Unionist leopard change its spots. They went red for a while with the DUP before they became “our masters” up north, and the rapid change to “Born Again Thatcherism” persuaded Mick they might just keep changing and emerge as butterflies some day. Some hope…..

            About David Vance, I think the only reason he may appear to some to be a “reasonable” Unionist is because he is a “wealth” conservative, so anything that might just get in the way of making money might just become a problem. My wife made a thread reply incandescent with rage to one of his “Daily Telegraph” postings boasting about making a £3.000.000 clear profit on a land deal in London. The reaction of my own very much half mounted status to these neo-planters “colonising” even their places of origin can only be imagined…..

            And I may just have gone to school with his father!

            My own site preference fro a reasonable Unionist site would be: loyalistsagainstdemocracy, but that’s rather predictable.

      • Anthony June 7, 2014 at 10:24 am #

        Try (Open Unionism) and if your feeling really brave try the loyalist site (PULSE forums), if they (pulse) let you join crash helmet may be needed.

  15. Argenta June 6, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    “It is true that we traditionally show respect to the corpse”—An exception may be the I R A and the Disappeared!

    • Ceannaire June 6, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

      Ah yes, Argenta – your exception may be correct but you felt that important to mention all the same. As if we are stupid or forgetful.

      And yet the IRA get a mention where it does not merit it.

      Hmmm, what was it Molyneaux said about the IRA ceasefire? This obsession intrigues me and many others. I would say more obsessed than its supporters.

      • Argenta June 7, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

        Why does the I R A not merit a mention?You acknowledge that my example was correct so should that paramilitary group be forgotten in the “new dispensation ?

  16. Cal June 7, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    – “Catherine Corless’s research revealed that 796 children died at St Mary’s. She now says the nature of their burial has been widely misrepresented”.