The Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council says he feels responsible for the appalling decision made by his predecessors in relation to the County Home.
The former Home, now the site of St Columba’s Hospital in Thomastown, was run by the local authority and was one of the 18 institutions investigated for the Mother and Baby Homes report.
Andrew McGuinness is planning to bring a motion to next week’s meeting of the local authority, that a formal apology be issued to the victims, survivors and their families;
“While I may not have even been born, I still feel some sort of responsibility because I sit in a chair on Kilkenny County Council that others have sat in and that others have made appalling decisions in back then” he says. “There’s an onus on me, and Kilkenny County Council, to apologise, just like Micheál Martin did.”
Meanwhile, moves are underway to acknowledge the people buried in unmarked graves at the Shankyard in Thomastown- a mass burial site on the grounds of what is now St Columba’s.
The Mother and Baby Homes report says a groundsman there was instructed to destroy their burial record in 1990.
Cathaoirleach McGuinness wants to start a dialogue with survivors and victims’ families about the best way to commemorate the people buried there.
However, he’s confirmed to The Way It Is that the local authority does not have any official record;
“I did make contact with our CEO of Kilkenny County Council, and it has been confirmed to me that they have searched for these archives, but they don’t have them” he explains. “There are no burial records. That’s the biggest fear that I have, that they have been destroyed or burned, as is outlined in the report, shockingly in the early 1990s which isn’t that long ago.”