Deny then delay: Five months on, Smyllum nuns have still not started mass grave investigation

Smyllum orphanage
Smyllum orphanage

THE nuns who ran an orphanage where more than 400 children died have not started to investigate how many are buried in a mass grave.

They have admitted no inquiries have begun five months after a Sunday Post investigation revealed up to 400 babies, toddlers and teenagers were feared to be buried at St Mary’s Cemetery in Lanark in unmarked graves.

Our research took three months to complete and used an expert to comb over 15,000 death records.

Smyllum’s Children: Lanarkshire kids’ home scandal revealed as hundreds of orphans laid to rest by nuns in mass grave

After our investigation, carried out with BBC’s File on Four, the order who ran Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanarkshire promised to reveal exactly how many children were buried there.

On September 22, a spokesman for the nuns said it was “verifying” the numbers of children who died.

But it’s now been revealed the Daughters of Charity of Vincent de Paul haven’t even started – or got anyone to carry out the work on their behalf.

Relatives of those who died while in care at Smyllum Park children’s home – many of whom still don’t know where their loved ones are buried – said the delays were unforgivable.

Eddie McColl lost his brother Francis, 13, in 1961.

Eddie said the Daughters of Charity should make finding out how many children were buried at St Mary’s Cemetery a priority.

The Edinburgh granddad, 74, said: “It just seems to go on and on without ever getting an answer. It’s very insensitive.

“All the evidence suggests Francis was buried at St Mary’s but the Daughters of Charity’s reluctance to find out is unforgiveable.

“What are they hiding? It should be a priority for them.”

The bosses of the multi- million pound order of nuns have been giving evidence at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

Sister Ellen Flynn, who leads the Daughters of Charity in the UK said they had failed to get any researchers to undertake the project to uncover the number of bodies buried at St Mary’s.

She said: “We approached many people in Scotland and we couldn’t find anybody, but it’s probably not surprising. We’ve now gone south of the Border.”