Tipperary Council to hold special meeting to discuss Sean Ross Abbey findings

Geophysical survey of former Sean Ross mother and baby home in Roscrea

The Sean Ross Abbey site in Roscrea

“Tipperary County Council will fully and actively participate with Government in all matters relating to local government to develop this action plan - Cllr Michael Smith

Members of Tipperary County Council are to hold a special meeting next week to discuss the findings of the Mother and Baby Homes commission report with specific reference to Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea.

The meeting has been arranged by the Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council, Cllr Michael Smith (FF) who, at a meeting of the local authority this week, welcomed the publication of the report.

And he didn't shy away from acknowledging the role the local authority played in the running of Sean Ross Abbey, which saw 6,079 children born from the time it was opened in 1931.

Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council, Councillor Michael Smith

Cllr Smith told colleagues: “North and South Tipperary County Councils, like other local authorities had a role in the provision of healthcare and hospital services until 1970 when health boards took over these functions. Sean Ross Mother and Baby Home opened in 1931 in Roscrea. During that time, 6414 women were admitted to the home and 6079 children were born or admitted there.

“ It was owned and run by the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

“The report highlights a profound failure of empathy, understanding and compassion over a long period. Taoiseach Michael Martin apologised on behalf of the State for the generational wrong visited upon Irish mothers and their children in Mother and Baby Homes and County Homes. Society must hold itself to account.

Cllr Smith went on to say that the report highlights a very dark and disturbing time in our history and acknowledged the Governments has intention to develop a comprehensive action plan following the publication of this report, addressing; survivor centred approach; Apology; Access to Personal Information; Archiving and Databases; Education and Research; Memorialisation ; Restorative Recognition; and Dignified Burial.

“Tipperary County Council will fully and actively participate with Government in all matters relating to local government to develop this action plan.

“The publication of Mother and Baby Homes and its findings into Sean Ross is only the start of the process. I intend, with your agreement to hold a special meeting next Monday of this Council to discuss and allow members express their views and consider resolutions. I have also invited Theresa Collins and members of Sean Ross Survivors Group to participate.
“I want to especially, and most sincerely, on your behalf, pay tribute to the former residents of Sean Ross. I want to acknowledge their courage and thank them for their testimonies.

“I am very conscious of the pain involved, particularly for the survivors. They must have our utmost respect and support in their quest for discovery, take the steps to alleviate the burden and ensure that nothing like this happens again,” Cllr Smith said.

The council observed a minute of silence in memory of all those who died in Sean Ross Abbey and members agreed to the holding of the special meeting next week.

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