20/06/2024

Future Mother And Baby Institutions Inquiry To Include Unmarked Grave Records - Alliance

Alliance has urged that any future inquiries into mother and baby institutions in Northern Ireland should include protection of burial records of unmarked graves.

The party's Executive Office spokesperson, Connie Egan MLA, was speaking following a meeting of the Executive Office Committee at the Assembly yesterday, 19 June, which heard from some families of those buried in unmarked graves in Milltown Cemetery, as well as archaeological expert Toni Maguire.

Ms. Egan's colleague, Nuala McAllister MLA, had previously urged an immediate cessation of ongoing work in the cemetery. She revealed that her mother had been informed that her stillborn son and twins lost during pregnancy might have been buried in the baby graves.
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It is believed that those burried in these graves could include stillborn infants, as well as individuals from mother and baby institutions in Belfast, and others who did not receive a burial under typical circumstances.

In a statement, Ms Egan said: "Today's Committee session comes in the wake of evidence burials in unmarked graves in Milltown Cemetery were being disturbed by the Catholic Church’s management company.

"It was important to hear directly from the families impacted, as well as Toni Maguire, on the direct impact this matter is having on them. They have been raising the issue repeatedly, alongside my colleague Nuala McAllister, and it is crucial they receive both the support needed to continue doing that and the answers they are seeking.

"Given the Executive Office is currently writing the terms of reference for an inquiry into mother and baby institutions, it is vital it also includes protection of records of burials in these unmarked graves. Today’s evidence session was a clear sign these are difficult memories of painful times for people, and they deserve the right to have their loved ones rest in peace."

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