One testing site was a huge mass grave of children.
In Ireland, 2,000 orphans in an orphanage were secretly vaccinated in the 1930s in a series of medical experiments conducted by international drug giant Burroughs Wellcome.
Medical records highlighted in the Irish Daily Mail show that 2,051 infants and children in many Irish care homes were involved in the practice. The data was discovered by Michael Dwyer, from Cork University’s School of History, when he was searching through thousands of old medical journals and archived files. However, in the data, he found no evidence of consent for the illegal drug trials and records of infants involved. He found tests were administered before drugs were accessible in the UK. The homes included County Cork, Bessborough, and Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, County Tipperary.
Dwyer told the paper:
What I have found is just the tip of a very large and submerged iceberg. The fact that reports of these trials were published in the most prestigious medical journals suggests that this type of human experimentation was largely accepted by medical practitioners and facilitated by authorities in charge of children’s residential institutions.
It was also discovered by the Newstalk Breakfast on Monday show that around 300 orphans in care homes in the 1960s and 70s were used as test subjects in medical trials. It wasn’t until 1987 when Ireland passed laws involving medical testing. The show interviewed a former child resident of Bessborough House in Cork named Christy.
“I remember speaking to my mum and I asked her why I’d do many marks on my body, she said ‘I don’t know’ and ‘when you arrived your arms were sore and bandaged.” He had 8 marks on his arms and two on his legs from the vaccines. Christy said,“Most people from my generation have one, if not two, that’s it, not as many as me.” The reports were added in with another shocking discovery in Tuan, western Ireland, where a mass grave with almost 800 children was dug up a few days ago. The bodies from the facility for unwed mothers and their offspring were disposed of in a sewage tank with no coffins for proper burial.
The mass grave was encountered upon by Catherine Corless, a local historian who was gathering information on the mother and infant home that was in operation there for 50 years, lead by the Bon Secours order of nuns. Soon after the reports and discovery of medical tests, Enda Kenny, the Irish Premier, had ordered ministers to look for more mass graves. Diarmuid Martin, the archbishop of Dublin, has declared that an investigation into Tuan independent of the Catholic Church since “mother and baby homes” were in operation from the 20s into the 60s, when the Catholic control and policy of social services were at its highest power.
“We have to look at the whole culture of mother and baby homes; they’re talking about medical experiments there,” he said to RTE Radio at the weekend in an interview. “They’re very complicated and very sensitive issues, but the only way we will come out of this particular period of our history is when the truth comes out.”