To: Taoiseach/ Minister for Health/ Director General HSE Tony OBrien
Restore 1304 crosses and grave identities at St.Lomans Hospital Mullingar
We are calling on the Irish Government and Irish Government Authorities to honor the memory of 1304 deceased Irish Citizens lying in a mass grave on grounds of Irish Hospital - one of which is my great grandmother Julia Leonard (nee Caffrey).
Why is this important?
1304 deceased patients of St.Lomans Hospital Mullingar, County Westmeath are buried without individual grave markings - one of these is my great gran Julia Leronard (nee Caffrey). My family and I discovered this after our application to have her remains exhumed to be re-interred in a family plot was turned down.
Following this I visited the graveyard and discovered 1304 men and women including my great gran are in what has been allowed to become a mass grave. In 2011 the HSE sanctioned graveyard maintenance work resulting in - the removal of all the crosses marking each grave. I have heard these crosses are stored in a shed on the grounds of the hospital. The last person buried here was in 1970. These deceased patients were forgotten by Irish Society while interred in what was then known as the Asylum - I want to remember these people today and afford them some dignity and respect by marking their graves properly.
On February 6 2016 myself and my family erected our own cross in the memory of our great -gran/grandmother Julia on the mass grave site. We felt we needed to do something to honor her memory as Government Authorities are not doing anything.
We would like to see;
1.An expert Archaeologist hired to restore the graveyard
2.Restoration of the graveyard - meaning restoring the individual identity of all the graves i.e individual markers/crosses on each grave with the name of the person buried there and their date of birth and death.
3.Permanent memorial wall with all the names of the men and women buried there.
4.Exhumation of my great gran Julia - to be re-interred with the baby boy taken from her in the hospital - my grandfather.
I think as it stands it shows up ongoing discrimination in the area of mental health. If this graveyard was in the general community there would be outrage at headstones being removed and a graveyard being turned into a mass grave.