Congratulations to the Cork Survivors and Supporters Alliance (CSSA) on being the recipients of the Spirit of Mother Jones Award for 2021.
CSSA members, Catherine Coffey O’Brien, and Maureen Considine, accompanied by Sheila O’Byrne, and Phil Kinsella received the award from James Nolan of the Cork Mother Jones Committee during the recent festival. The award itself is based on the story of the Children of Lir in Irish folklore.
Catherine expressed her delight for the recognition and community support which this award represents and stated that the CSSA felt honoured to have been nominated to receive it as it meant so much to the group.
The official citation from the Cork Mother Jones Committee is as follows.
“The Spirit of Mother Jones Award for 2021 is presented to members of the Cork Survivors and Supporters Alliance for:
· Their bravery and determination to ensure that development does not take place on sensitive burial areas of the former Mother & Baby ‘Home’ at Bessborough in Cork.
· Their efforts to organise a voice for the mothers of deceased children, and to publicly question where the remains of hundreds of babies are buried, and why the records of burials have not been produced to date.
· Their work in locating the OSI 1950 Map which has a marked location of a Childrens’ Burial Ground in Bessborough clearly displayed.
· Their resilience in defending and verifying the accuracy of this map at the oral hearing of An Bord Pleanala during April 2021 and for convincing the planning Board to reject the proposed development.
· Their continuing campaign to seek the right with the common tradition for a dignified burial place for those who died, for the preservation of the burial grounds, for access to the grounds and for the creation of an appropriate memorialisation garden for the mothers and children at Bessborough.
The members of the CSSA are the second Cork-based recipients of this International Award which is named in honour of Cork born Mary Harris known around the world as Mother Jones.
The Cork Mother Jones Committee is honoured that the CSSA has accepted the 2021 award which indeed is an acknowledgement of our admiration for their determination to honour the dead, and continue to fight for the living.