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Saturday, 7 June 2014

John Waters without the whiskers

This March we had some work done our house. At the outset, the builders had to dig up the front garden as they needed to ascertain what sort of ground the house was built on. When they had done so, I jokingly asked one of the builders if they had found the bodies yet?
If, say, a human skull, just the one, had been found under our front garden, the area would immediately have been cordoned off by GardaĆ­ and a lot of unpleasantness would have ensued. 

I doubt that Tom McJerk or John Waters would have rushed onto the Vincent Browne Show to say that the finding of this skull needed to be viewed in the context of Irish society as it was when our house was built (1988). Back in 1988 it was common practice in the Newcastle area of Galway City to bury at least one human skull under every front garden, to ward of future Fine Gael - Labour coalition governments, or some such.

The fact that the land on which the former Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, County Galway stood is not, as I type, already surrounded by crime scene tape is proof that, despite all the jabber, the Holy Roman and Apostolic Catholic Church is still getting special treatment.


There is now little doubt that 796 children died at this home between 1925 and 1961. There is also not much doubt that some of their skeletons are in a disused septic tank on the site. It's also likely that there are other such burial sites, near former Mother and Baby Homes, around the country.

But just when you thought that truth might be about to force its way into the open, here comes Rosita Boland with an orticle in today's Oirish Times trying to muddy the water. Rosita makes it clear that she is against burying children in septic tanks; and that what happened is very terrible. The main point of her orticle though is to say that - all this long time ago terribleness duly acknowledged - there couldn't possibly be 796 skeletons in the particular septic tank which this week achieved world fame. 

When discussing the processing of human beings by the state - for this is what happened at that Tuam home - it is dodgy practice indeed to engage in such statistical quibbling. The Tuam Mother and Baby Home was not Treblinka or Vorkuta, no. But it was several stops along a similar train track. It's just that the nuns never engaged in systematic extermination. Some of them did, it's pretty clear, engage in a bit of ad hoc killing by, at the very least, allowing children to die. And no one any longer bothers to deny that slave labour by those interned there was central to the modus operandi of such homes, as was also the case with the Magdalene Laundries. Rosita is against all that; but she prefers to witter on about precisely how many are buried where. 

Boland's article will be jumped on by Catholic apologists - the Breda O'Briens, the David Quinns, all that crew - as evidence that the liberal media rushed to judgement on this matter. Rosita could have written about the how Nuns likely killed a few of the children who died at that home in Tuam. But no. 

Rosita Boland, when she writes about literary matters, is often a rather silly reactionary of the 'who let the rough necks into the parlour' variety. Now she appears to have morphed into John Waters without the whiskers, an untreatable condition which can lead, in chronic cases, to a column in The Irish Catholic.

Now, especially for Ms Boland, here is something from Tuam's finest.