Ireland’s ‘Mass Graves’ Story Is Fake News – OpEd

It was a lie in 2014 and it is a lie in 2017. There is no evidence of a mass grave outside a home for unmarried women operated by nuns in Tuam, Ireland, near Galway, in the 20th century. The hoax is now back again, and an obliging media are running with the story as if it were true.

Any objective and independent reporter would be able to report what I am about to say, but unfortunately there are too many lazy and incompetent reporters prepared to swallow the latest moonshine about the Catholic Church. If there were a Pulitzer for Fake News, the competition would be fierce.

Ireland’s Mother and Baby Commission completed its inquiry into this issue and released a statement on March 3rd about its findings today. The probe was a response to allegations made by a local historian, Catherine Corless, who claimed that 800 babies were buried in a tank outside the former Mother and Baby home that was operated by the Bon Secours nuns.

The statement issued by the Mother and Baby Commission never mentions anything about a mass grave. Having completed a test excavation of the Tuam site, it found “significant quantities of human remains” in most of the underground sewage chambers. “These remains involved a number of individuals with age-at-death ranges from approximately 35 foetal weeks to 2-3 years.”

That’s the story. If there were “mass graves,” not only would the official statement mention it, but so would Katherine Zappone TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs; she issued her formal remarks today. She says absolutely nothing about any “mass graves.” Moreover, when the government’s Interim Report was issued on July 12, 2016, it also made no mention of “mass graves.”

“Experts Find Mass Grave at ex-Catholic Orphanage in Ireland.” That is what the Associated Press reported on March 3rd. The author, Shawn Pogatchnik, offers no evidence and no citation from the government’s report to prove his allegation.

AP should know better given its lousy record on this subject. On June 3 and June 8, 2014, AP ran news stories on this subject and later had to apologize for making several factual errors. It now owes readers another apology.

Reuters did a good job reporting on this issue: it never mentioned anything about the mythical “mass graves.” The Belfast Telegraph Online also offered an accurate account, but it was misleading in one way: it quoted Joan Burton of the Labor Party who cited the work of Corless, concluding that “it now appears” that there was “some kind of mass grave.” Her conjecture is based on Corless’ discredited account.

Here is an excerpt from my 2014 report, “Ireland’s ‘Mass Grave’ Hysteria.”

“The notion that a mass grave existed in the site of the Home is oddly enough credited to the same person who says there never was one. His name is Barry Sweeney. Here’s what happened.

“In 1975, when Sweeney was 10, he and a friend, Frannie Hopkins, 12, were playing on the grounds where the home was when they stumbled on a hole with skeletons in it.

“He [Sweeney] is quoted in the Irish Times saying ‘there was no way there were 800 skeletons down that hole. Nothing like that number.’ How many were there? ‘About 20,’ he says.”

Douglas Dalby of the New York Times did a good job checking the facts and his account supports what I wrote. He quotes Sweeney saying, “People are making out we saw a mass grave. But we can only say what we seen [sic]: maybe 15-20 small skeletons.”

The appetite to believe the worst about the Catholic Church, and Ireland’s nuns, is so great that many in the media will believe anything negative about it. Yet we know from the McAleese Report on the Magdalene Laundries that not a single nun was ever sexually assaulted by one of the sisters and that the conditions were not “prison like.”

We also know that the movie, “Philomena,” was another smear job. Philomena Lee, upon whom the film was based, voluntarily turned her out-of-wedlock baby over to the nuns at the age of 22. After she signed a contract freely handing over her child to the nuns, the sisters helped her to find gainful employment. Contrary to what the movie said, Philomena never once set foot in the U.S. looking for her son. Indeed, she never set foot in the U.S. until it was time to hawk the movie.

Mass graves. Sexually assaulted women. Children stolen. It is all a lie. It’s about time this non-stop assault on truth and the Catholic Church stopped before no one believes anything the media tell us anymore about all matters Catholic.

William Donohue

William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

3 thoughts on “Ireland’s ‘Mass Graves’ Story Is Fake News – OpEd

  • March 4, 2017 at 6:19 am
    Permalink

    Shawn is up to his usual. Seriously, search the guy and tell me he doesn’t have an agenda against the Church.

    Reply
  • March 5, 2017 at 11:35 pm
    Permalink

    Why does “significant quantities of human remains” not constitute a mass grave u fool. Stay on the story. Just wait and see what’s found. Then you will be shown up as an absolute joke

    Reply
  • March 6, 2017 at 4:40 pm
    Permalink

    Even if only 20 skeletons were found (and I don’t think that you can rely on a 10 year old to accurately report the number that were there), that is still a Mass Grave, as defined by the UN.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CLOSE
CLOSE