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16 Aug 2022

Sean Ross survivors of abuse meet Children's Minister during private visit to site

Sean Ross survivors of abuse meet Children's Minister during private visit to site

Sean Ross survivors of abuse meet Children's Minister during private visit to site

The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, alongside a number of his officials paid a private visit to Sean Ross Abbey last week.

In a statement after the visit, We are Still Here, Sean Ross Abbey Ireland, said that during the meeting, the Minister met survivors who were offered the opportunity to discuss various matters that his Department has responsibility for; representatives of Tipperary County Council, who, they said had been of great support to the group, were also in attendance.

The visit was kept to a low profile in order to respect the privacy of survivors.

"We were happy to show Minister O’Gorman the abbey itself and to give him a tour of the abbey and its grounds. This included where the locations were mothers gave birth, the church and where baptisms took place," they said.

The gathering then proceeded to the grave of Micheal Hess, son of Philomena Lee, and subject of the film Philomena.

On the way to the Angels’ Plot, the group showed the Minister the graves of the religious order of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary.

"During the walk we showed him the path taken by the mothers who worked on the grounds until their babies were born - and indeed for many years after as they paid their debt to society, as the nuns put it," said the group.

When reaching the Angels’ Plot a quiet payer was said.

Minister O'Gorman and the CEO of Tipperary County Council Joe McGrath were showed locations of particular interest and imparted to them much of the information that the group has gathered to-date.

"It felt as though finally, our hard work and dedication to the truth was being listened to and that the pathway forward was looking bright," they said.

Currently, the group has more work to advance to get scans of the Angel’s Plot and an adjacent area carried out. Tipperary County Council and the Minster’s Department are assisting them in acquiring the correct information and helping them in their efforts to achieve this.

"We want to talk this opportunity to thank our own members as well as Tipperary County Council, The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, and Deputy Martin Browne who have all worked tirelessly to bring light to a dark period of our history.

"We would also like to extend a special thanks to Tony Donlan, owner of Sean Ross Abbey," they said.

An open day and occasion of remembrance is due to take place on Sunday September 25. All are welcome.

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