Lost infants’ graves will be marked

Bishop Brendan Leahy encouraged by youth involvement in the Church
Bishop Brendan Leahy

Bishop Leahy encouraged by youth involvement in the Church

A MEMORIAL to infant babies who were still-born or who died before birth and whose resting place was disturbed when the Diocese of Limerick sold the area know as the Infant’s Plot is to be unveiled next week.

Phil and Paul Walsh lost baby William when he was delivered close to six months into Phil’s pregnancy in December 1971.

“I went to visit the plot and I couldn’t believe what I saw – there were adult graves where the Innocents Plot used to be,” Phil told the Limerick Post.

The couple made enquiries and a gravedigger confirmed that the babies bodies had been moved to make way for adult graves and “buried down deep”.

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There were no records of how many babies were buried in the plot.

After the couple contacted the Limerick Post and this paper contacted the Diocese, Bishop Brendan Leahy began an inquiry which unveiled the extent of the problem.

The Diocese confirmed that it had sold the section of the burial grounds.

Now a memorial plaque, commissioned by the Diocese, has been placed near the location of the plot with the inscription: “This stone is dedicated to all who died before, during and after birth, and to all united in the loss of a child, whether recent or long ago. Loving God, ever caring and gentle, cradle these children in your love”.

It will be unveiled and blessed in conjunction with the official opening of the cemetery extension.

Speaking for herself and her husband, Mrs Walsh said it has been an emotional journey but they are glad to have brought the matter to light.

“We’re very pleased that the burial of the children has been recognised at last. It’s very important for all the families involved. We’ll be at the blessing but now that we know the plaque is there, we go and visit”.

The couple was involved with choosing the inscription and the siting of the stone in Mount St Lawrence

Bishop Leahy told the Limerick Post that he is glad to see the day when the  infants’ resting place will be marked.

“We’re very thankful to Phil and Paul, who brought a very legitimate concern to out attention. I certainly wasn’t aware of it before. I hope the blessing will be a healing moment for everyone”.