More families contact diocese about infants’ plot

Chapel-Of-Rest-and-graveyard-Mount-Saint-Lawrence-300x200by Bernie English [email protected]

FOUR more people have come forward to query what has happened to their stillborn and premature babies who were buried in a plot which has been sold on for use as adult graves.

The sale of the area known as the Innocents’ Plot in Mount St Lawrence was revealed by the Limerick Post last month.

This newspaper was contacted by Phil and Paul Walsh, who buried their son  William there after he was delivered six months into Phil’s pregnancy in December 1971.

Many years elapsed before Phil could bring herself to visit the plot again but when she did, she was horrified to find that adults had been interred there.

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“I asked what had happened to the babies buried there and a gravedigger said they ‘dug them down deep’, Phil told the Limerick Post.

It emerged that the diocese had sold the plots and there was no record of the infants buried there.

A help line was set up for any other families affected by the news and a spokesman for the Diocese confirmed that there have been four separate contacts in the month since.

He added that the “Diocese is following up on all”. In a statement the spokesperson for Limerick Diocese said: “From the moment the issue of the infant burial ground at Mount St. Lawrence was brought to our attention by the Walsh family, the Diocese recognised the sensitivity and seriousness of the matter. Our first step was to appoint former Chief Superintendent Gerry Mahon to conduct a thorough review to gather facts on this matter. Bishop Leahy has also met with the Walsh family.

“Bishop Leahy discussed with the Walsh family the failings to preserve the burial ground until it was taken over by the local authority in 1979.

Phil Walsh told the Limerick Post that she and her husband had done their research and brought suggestions on how the deceased infants could be commemorated at the site of the plot.

“The diocese fully understands the distress this matter has caused and Bishop Leahy made this clear to the Walsh family.  He also discussed plans with the family for a suitable way to commemorate the infants buried there and took their suggestions for this on board.  The diocese will be having further discussions with the local authority on this shortly and will continue to liaise with the Walsh family on this.”

The helpline number for anyone affected by the issue is 083 3979167