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Tuam survivor vows to climb Reek seven times

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VISIT Seosamh O Maolchroin pictured laying a wreath on the burial site at the Tuam mother and baby home after his first visit to the home in 60 years last year.

Seosamh Ó Maolchroin to remember seven babies who died in Tuam the year he was born

Anton McNulty

AN Aughagower man has pledged to climb Croagh Patrick on the birthdays of seven babies who died in the Tuam Mother and Baby Home 70 years ago this year.
Seosamh Ó Maolchroin was born on March 30, 1952, and spent the first six years of his life in the notorious Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home after his mother gave birth to him when she was 16 years of age. He was taken in by a family in 1959 before being adopted in 1966.
Speaking to The Mayo News, Seosamh said he recently discovered the names of seven babies born the year he was born, who died in the Tuam Mother and Baby Home not long after they were born. It is understood they were buried in a septic tank on the grounds, along with 789 other babies who also died at the home.

In their memory
Two of the seven babies were from Co Mayo. One of them, Josephine Teresa Staunton from Bohola, is recorded to have died at just two days old. The other Mayo baby, John Noone from Cross, was born on February 10, 1952. He died at four months.
John was the first of the seven babies born in 1952, and Seosamh said he plans to first climb Croagh Patrick on his birthday to remember him. He will go on to climb the Reek on each of the birthdays of the remaining six.
“Seven of those babies who died were all born the year I was born in 1952 and they among the 796 who were buried in a septic tank. I was lucky to get out of there. I am going to climb Croagh Patrick on their birthdays, not for me, but to remember those who died and keep the memory of the Tuam babies alive.
“Those babies died, and we have to look into why they died, and the Church and State have to be held accountable for what happened. A lot of people want us to move on and forget about it, but I as a survivor will not forget about it,” he said.

Invitation
While Seosamh was in Tuam, his mother was sent to a laundry in Dublin. She would come down once a year on his birthday to bring him a present. She refused to sign the adoption papers until he was 14 years old.
When he discovered he was adopted he searched for his mother the ‘length and breath of this country’, but all he came up against was ‘a blocked wall’. They were finally reunited in 2003, but they had very little time together, as she died in 2005.
He explained that for a long time he was ashamed to say he was adopted, but in recent years he has campaigned to preserve the memory of the 796 babies who died in Tuam.
He said as a 70 year old he is not sure if he will be up for the challenge of the climb, but he has vowed to ‘give it a go’. He has also invited people to join him on the climbs during the year.
“It will be a challenge, but I am up for it and I will give it a go … I would invite any survivors or anyone to join me on the climb,” he said.
The dates of the climbs are February 2; March 31; April 17; April 30; May 2; September 7 and October 7.