Jeri Jacquin

Currently streaming on Topic is the shocking and heartbreaking documentary about the children of Ireland and the Mother and Baby Homes filled with THE MISSING CHILDREN.

Tuam is a small town in Ireland and in the town was St. Mary’s, Tuam’s Mother and Baby Home that was once a workhouse. Women had their babies and could not take them home. Now having that stigmatism, the children were treated differently and could not socialize normally with other children.

In the corner of the home was a small grotto, two boys jumped over the wall to get apples and the ground gave way. The boys discovered the horror of child remains, it was reburied and life went on. That was until Catherine Corless, a local historian of Tuam, started researching about the home and discovered all the children that died at the Tuam home.

The thing is, the register is supposed to have a location where over 700 children were buried and there was no record at all. Getting maps of the home, she discovered one place where they could be. The journalist Allison O’Reilly took over the story with the thought that an investigation would start – none did.

Catherine confronted the nuns at Bon Secours Convent told that the sisters vehemently denied any such thing occurred. Caelainn Hogan, also a journalist, heard that the story of the Tuam children was not true. Terry Prone, who represented the sister of Bon Secours emailed people saying, ‘if you come here, you’ll find no mass grave’. 

Fergus Finaly of the Irish Government found it hard to believe that the nuns would not keep a record of the deaths as they were so meticulous with their record keeping. He believes the nuns know something. In Manchester, England, Annette McKay was a child of a woman who went to the Tuam home to give birth to another child. The sister’s told her the baby had died and she was turned away.

Dr. Maeve O’Rourke, a human rights lawyer, explains how Ireland was a Catholic country and wanted to show that by being a morally pure country. The homes were a way of keeping those who didn’t tow the religious line out of sight. It did not matter how you got pregnant, having a baby brought shame and was a sin.

PJ Haverty was born in 1951 and survived his time at Tuam. He tells of how his own mother was treated by the family and was eventually taken to Bon Secours Convent. This particular convent was filled with nuns that had nurses training. When PJ was born, his mother continues to work at the convent and he rarely saw her until she eventually was made to leave.

Peter Mulryan, born in 1944, also remembers his time and the memories still haunt him. He remembers the sounds most of all. Pat Duffy explains how they were just kept in their beds with nothing but their own selves. This is the horror grown men still remember.

In 2015, the Irish government finally began an investigation into the mother and baby institutions. They announced they would look at the years 1922 to 1998 but also other homes as well. Tuam’s was just the beginning of the story and now the plot that Catherine believes existed, would finally be looked at in 2016.

Beginning with Dr. Linda G. Lynch, Human Osteoarcheologist, the digging began along with Dr. Niamh McCullagh, Forensic Archaeologist and Excavation Director. There job is to decide if the spot was an official burial spot or not. A 19th century sewage structure is what they found along with human remains. What Catherine believed had finally been proven to be true.

In 2017 at the House of the Oireachtas, which is Ireland’s Parliament, Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children & Youth Affairs, announces their findings at the digging site in Tuam. Now, people want to know what really happened to these children and Catherine is still asking the hard questions. One of the people who has been asking questions as well is Anna Corrigan who had two brothers die in Tuam.

Anna, like Catherine, starts collecting information about what happened and discovers that there was something wrong with her brother John. Backing up her suspicion is an inspection report yet no one then followed up. When starvation becomes a reason for death, it does not make sense since the sisters were paid by the government to take care of these children and they grew their own food in large quantities.

Catherine wonders if it is possible that some of the children did not die, if that is the case, where are they? Patrick Naughton was born in 1954 and later adopted from Tuam but he never knew until he confronted his loving parents. He discovered the true story from his mother Lucy and it was devastating. Now, it is not only the deaths of the children at Tuam but the unknowing parents who are adopting children.

Mothers were led to believe that their children had died when, in fact, the nuns and priests were sending the children away for adoption in other countries like the United States. Journalist Mike Milotte learned that in the 50’s over 500 children arrived in the United States in one year. One of those children is a little boy named Michael.

What becomes more disturbing is that as the adults who survived Tuam begin to find paperwork from their ‘parents’ and learn the truth of who they are and where they came from. Looking for records or anything that could help them trace their own roots becomes important to them all.

The answers are slow in coming but with the determination and anger of those who see the injustice done to the children of Tuam and holding accountable those who are to blame.

Topic is the boundary-pushing streaming service for thrillers, mysteries, dramas and documentaries from around the world, serving viewers who crave entertainment beyond the mainstream. Whether it’s a Nordic-noir crime thriller (The Killing), a back-stabbing, an Italian political drama (The Miracle), or a mind-blowing supernatural mystery from Russia (Dead Mountain), Topic expands your view of the world. For more of what Topic has to offer please visit

THE MISSING CHILDREN is just a horribly heartbreaking documentary about the blatant disregard for human life both living and dead by the nuns and the church for these children. Once the box was finally opened, papers came flooding out about how many children actually died and how many were ‘bought’ by adoptive parents. I never believed through the storytelling of this documentary that the adoptive parents knew what was happening.

That means that the church, an institution that people have generationally believed that they could trust, was an agent of destruction both physically and mentally of human beings. If the children truly died, their remains were treated with such disrespect and if they lived, they became victims of human trafficking. Calling the purchase money for the child a ‘contributions’ can only be described as disgusting.

Those who are trying to piece together the story and those who are living this injustice are so patient and, to be honest, I know I wouldn’t be. They are continually blocked by a system that is clearly afraid of what more the documents they are holding back will expose about those responsible. Using their power to block any legal action is once again a slap to survivors.

THE MISSING CHILDREN won the BAFTA Award in 2022 for Tanya Stephan, Rachel Cumella, Brian Woods, Anne Morrison, Paddy Garrick, Ella Newton, True Vision, Nevision and Itv.

This documentary is just so hard to watch at moments because all of the child-survivors of Tuam share their heart, story and soul. There is no way to watch and not become angry at the way they have been treated from birth until now, in their senior years. Their emotion just breaks my heart but, there are moments of joy and that has to be enough – for now.

Finally, the speech given by the Prime Minister holds nothing but disgust for me. Hiding behind laws, the church and making the records unavailable for thirty years proves that he is just as complicit as everyone else who is hiding the total truth.

In the end – they are finding who they truly are!



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.