The decision by Cork City councillors on 15th March 2022 to rezone the Bessborough area marked Children’s Burial Ground to a landscape preservation zone, was as a result of the sustained campaign fought by members of the Cork Survivors and Supporters Alliance (CSSA) over many years. This zoning should help to enhance the protection afforded the burial grounds on the site of the former Bessborough Mother and Child Institution. The location of the remains of up to 859 babies who died is still uncertain.
Following the successful appeal by the CSSA in 2021 to the An Bord Pleanala (the Irish Planning Board), which led to the refusal of planning permission for the construction of blocks of apartments on the site, this Cork City Council decision represented further vindication for the survivors of Bessborough Mother and Child institution in their efforts to protect this burial site.
Members of the CSSA, who were present in the Council Chamber received a huge round of applause from Cork City councillors at the meeting.
The CSSA was nominated to receive the 2021 Spirit of Mother Jones Award for their outstanding efforts to protect the site.
Earlier in the evening at City Hall the 2021 Spirit of Mother Jones Award was presented personally to CSSA’s Ann O’Gorman by Gerard O’Mahony on behalf of the Cork Mother Jones Committee.
Ann’s daughter Evelyn, born almost 50 years ago in Bessborough, was buried in an unmarked grave there.
Ann was described by Maureen Considine of the CSSA as ” an amazing campaigner and an inspirational hero to all of us”.
She has demanded for many decades that this site should be “marked, protected and blessed”.
This Cork City Council decision will contribute to the preservation of the burial site and the realisation of Ann O’Gorman’s dream.