Tuam historian Catherine Corless honoured with major human rights award

Catherine Corless has been honoured for her “tireless work” leading to the discovery of human remains at Tuam

Tuam historian Catherine Corless honoured with major human rights award

Catherine Corless at the site of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home, 05/06/2014. Image: Laura Hutton/RollingNews

The historian who uncovered the Tuam Mother and Baby Home scandal has been honoured with a major human rights award.

Catherine Corless has been presented with the Bar of Ireland’s Human Rights Award in recognition of her “tireless work” leading to the discovery of the remains of hundreds of babies at the Tuam site.

The award is presented to people or organisations that have shown exceptional humanitarian service. 

Last year it was awarded to the Irish Naval Service for their work on the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.

Following a ceremony this afternoon, Ms Corless said she was “truly honoured” to receive the award.

“My work campaigning on behalf of the survivors of mother and baby homes continues and I hope that this special award will give even more survivors the strength to come forward to tell their story,” she said.

“With each and every testimony the truth is uncovered further and our campaign for justice to prevail is strengthened.

“I share this award with the all survivors, this is for them.”

In 2014, Ms Corless published research revealing that hundreds of babies and toddlers had been buried in unmarked graves.

The home operated between 1925 and 1961 in the Co Galway town.

The research prompted the launch of a statutory commission of investigation.

In March, the inquiry team confirmed that 'significant quantities' of human remains had been discovered there.

The Chairman of the Council of The Bar of Ireland, Paul McGarry SC, said she had shown, “incredible courage and determination in her advocacy work on behalf of the survivors.”

“She has worked tirelessly on their behalf and has shone a light on a dark period of our history, passionately represented the victims and their rights at all times, often in the face of adversity.

“She epitomises the very essence of a humanitarian and is a very deserving recipient of this award”

Thomas Creed SC, chair of The Bar of Ireland’s Human Rights Committee said Ms Corless was a “fearless campaigner for human rights” adding that she had “done both the survivors and wider society a great service.”