The unmarried mothers, aged between 24 and 42, were inmates in the controversial institution in County Galway, which was run by the Bon Secours nuns from 1925 to 1961.
The bodies of five women who died at a home for unmarried mothers are believed to be buried in an unmarked mass grave with nearly 800 missing children, according to new research.
The single mothers, aged between 24 and 42, were inmates in the controversial Tuam institution run by the Bon Secours nuns in County Galway, Ireland, from 1925 to 1961.
The home made headlines around the world in June 2014 when the Irish Mail on Sunday revealed that no burial records existed for 796 children who died there – and prompted the establishment of a Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby homes.
Reports show that the children suffered malnutrition and neglect, which caused the deaths of many, while others died of measles, convulsions, TB, gastroenteritis and pneumonia.
Evidence gathered by local historian Catherine Corless strongly suggests the babies were buried in a mass grave behind the property.
Letters written by the Bon Secours nuns, eyewitnesses and the blueprints of the home all support the existence of the unmarked grave.
Now further investigations carried out by Ms Corless reveal that nine mothers died in the home during its existence. But burial records exist for only four of the nine.
The nine were Kathleen Tully, 29, Dunmore, Co. Galway; Annie Reilly, 39, Loughrea, Co. Galway; Mary Anne Rock, 42, Ballina, Co. Mayo; Margaret Henry, 24, Bushfield, Co. Mayo; Mary McLoughlin, 27, Belfast; Mary Joyce, Connemara; Annie Roughneen, 42, Claremorris, Co. Mayo; Bridget O’Reilly, 32, Ballina; and Mary Hickey, 36, Loughrea.
All burials must be registered with the local authority, with the location of the grave noted. Ms Corless combed the records for graveyards in the Tuam area and in the graveyards surrounding the townlands of origin of all nine women – but no records exist for five of them.
There are no burial records for Mary Hickey, Mary Joyce and Bridget O’Reilly. Annie Roughneen and Margaret Henry are also two of the women for whom no burial records exist.