Tuam cam­paigner ac­cuses Wa­ters of be­tray­ing sur­vivors with ‘hoax’ slur

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By Ni­amh Grif­fin

THE award-win­ning his­to­rian who un­cov­ered the Tuam Mother and Baby Home scan­dal has said sur­vivors were very dis­tressed to hear John Wa­ters re­fer to it as a ‘hoax’.

Yes­ter­day, Mr Wa­ters spoke at an event in Notre Dame Univer­sity in Amer­ica. The ti­tle of his pre­sen­ta­tion was ‘When Evil Be­comes Vir­tual: Cy­berspace, Fail­ing Me­dia, and the Hoax of the “Holo­caust of Tuam”.

Speak­ing to the Ir­ish Mail on Sun­day, Cather­ine Cor­less said: ‘Hoax is a ter­ri­ble word to use. It does un­set­tle the sur­vivors, af­ter what they have been through, and their moth­ers were through, for some­one to say it was a hoax.

‘Peo­ple have been call­ing me when they heard about it. It’s an aw­ful slap in the face to them.

‘The truth is out now, things have pro­gressed for the sur­vivors as we’d hoped. John Wa­ters and peo­ple like that are only a small group, the ma­jor­ity sup­port the fam­i­lies.’

Ken­neth Hal­le­nius, spokesman for the Cen­tre of Ethics and Cul­ture at the univer­sity, said Mr Wa­ters set the topic and ti­tle him­self.

Mr Hal­le­nius said: ‘He will not deny the facts of the case, nor will he chal­lenge the re­search that has un­cov­ered these facts by Cather­ine Cor­less, but rather will an­a­lyse its por­trayal in the me­dia and pop­u­lar cul­ture in re­la­tion to other con­tested po­lit­i­cal mat­ters.’

Ques­tions emailed to Mr Wa­ters on Fri­day were not re­sponded to by the time of pub­li­ca­tion.

This is not the first time Mr Wa­ters has dis­cussed the deaths at Tuam in a pub­lic fo­rum. Speak­ing at the Univer­sity of Navarre in Spain ear­lier this year, he said: ‘There is no ev­i­dence the nuns were in any way cul­pa­ble.’

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