Limerick award for Tuam babies campaigner

Catherine Corless, who will be presented with the Fitzgerald Bible award on September 14.

THE woman who exposed the Tuam Babies scandal will be honoured by a County Limerick community for “the values of humanity she exemplifies and for the difference she has has made to the world”.

Amateur historian Catherine Corless will be presented with the Fitzgerald Bible award by the Bruff Heritage Group on Wednesday, September 14.

A quiet, unassuming woman, Catherine Corless challenged the political and religious establishments and, through her meticulous research, exposed one of the most scandalous events in recent Irish history.

Shocked by the negligent disregard over the years of the bodies of the children in the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, she brought the fate of those previously forgotten infants into the public domain.

She spent her spare time searching records in libraries, churches and council offices, after which she uncovered that 796 children died in the home and she identified that there were death certificates but there were no burial records.

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The Bruff Fitzgerald Bible Award was established in 2015 to promote the linkages between Bruff and the Fitzgerald family. The award that is given to a person who, through a particular act or service, makes significant contribution to the country of Ireland.

When Thomas Fitzgerald, who was the grandfather of former US President, John F. Kennedy, left the east Limerick town in 1852, the only item he took with him was the family bible. Through generations, the bible was used by the family to record deaths, marriages and births.

It played an important role in the Fitzgerald family. When John F. Kennedy was being sworn in as the 35th President of the United States of America, he insisted on using it to swear the oath of office. The bible is now on exhibition in the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.

The award has been previously awarded to some of Ireland’s leading campaigners and citizens including Vicky Phelan, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy and Micheál O’Muircheartaigh.