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800 babies 'buried in septic tank' at Irish Catholic home

Almost 800 babies were buried in a concrete, septic tank in the grounds of a home for unmarried mothers in Galway between 1925 and 1961, according to research by a historian.

The site of a mass grave for children who died in the Tuam mother and baby home, Galway, Ireland.
The site of a mass grave for children who died in the Tuam mother and baby home, Galway, Ireland. Credit: PA

The bodies of 798 children were buried at the Tuam mother and baby home, which was run by The Sisters of Bon Secours.

In 1975 the grave was found by two local boys, but the scale of bodies was not examined until recently, after historian Catherine Corless made repeated requests to the state for official records.

The site is believed to be one of 10 similar homes across Ireland - three others are believed to hold the remains of another 3,200 babies and infants.

The scandal has sparked renewed calls for the Irish Government to hold a public investigation.

Ireland's bailout exit relatively smooth since crisis

Moody's upgraded Ireland to investment grade in January, handing the government a major boost a month after it completed the European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout.

Moody's upgrade means that all of the three main rating agencies now have Ireland rated at BBB+, or equivalent, which clearly ranks Ireland as an investment-grade credit and reflects the confidence in Ireland shared by investors generally.

– said John Corrigan, head of the country's debt agency.

With Irish debt already rallying, that upgrade further opened it up to investors prohibited from buying junk-rated paper. Ireland's bailout exit has been relatively smooth, having made a strong return to bond markets and with an economy set to grow about two per cent this year.

At the height of the euro zone crisis in July 2011, Moody's cut Ireland's rating to Ba1, one notch below former financial market pariah Colombia, and that prohibited large, mainly Asian-based ratings-sensitive funds from touching Irish debt.

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Ireland's credit rating upgraded by Moody's

Credit agency Moody's Investors Service upgraded Ireland's credit rating adding a further vote of confidence to the first euro zone country to complete an EU/IMF bailout last year.

Ireland's credit profile is recovering Credit: PA

"Ireland's credit profile is recovering more quickly from the euro area debt crisis as a result of its economy's dynamism and growth prospects," the credit agency said in a statement.

"However, Ireland's credit profile and rating remain constrained by the country's high public debt level, still-sizeable fiscal deficits and significant banking sector risks, including a high stock of non-performing loans."

Moody's raised Ireland's rating by two notches to Baa1 from Baa3 and with a stable outlook, saying a recent pick-up in growth momentum would speed up fiscal consolidation and cut government debt faster.

Irish president hails 'memorable' historic UK visit

Irish president Michael D Higgins has hailed his "memorable" historic state visit to the UK as "so positive, so uplifting and so hopeful".

He took to the Royal Albert Hall stage at a concert in his honour to uproarious applause and said: "On a night like this it is great to be Irish." He added it was "even better" to share it with "our friends in Britain".

Read: Irish President meets PM on day two of historic visit

Queen Elizabeth II and Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins attend a Northern Ireland-themed reception at Windsor Castle Credit: PA

On the final night of his visit, President Higgins was joined in the Royal Box by his wife Sabina and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

"In this magnificent venue and on this...historical occasion, I want to extend my thanks to a number of people who have made this evening's celebration, and indeed the past few days, extraordinary and memorable days, so positive, so uplifting and so hopeful," President Higgins said.

Irish president meets Cameron in Downing Street

Irish President Michael D Higgins met Prime Minister David Cameron in Downing Street today as he began day two of his state visit to Britain.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Irish President Michael D. Higgins shake hands in Downing Street.
Prime Minister David Cameron and Irish President Michael D. Higgins shake hands in Downing Street. Credit: Jeff Moore/Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment
Ireland's flag seen atop the Irish president's car outside Number 10.
Ireland's flag seen atop the Irish president's car outside Number 10. Credit: Jeff Moore/Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment
Irish President Michael D Higgins speaks with Prime Minister David Cameron in Number 10.
Irish President Michael D Higgins speaks with Prime Minister David Cameron in Number 10. Credit: Lefteris Pitarakis/PA Wire/Press Association Images

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Tebbit says he 'hopes' McGuinness is 'shot in the back'

Lord Tebbit has come under fire after suggesting he hoped Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness would be "shot in the back".

Lord Tebbit speaking in the House of Lords Credit: PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The former Conservative chairman, who was himself injured in the 1984 Brighton hotel bombing, suggested Mr McGuinness' presence yesterday at a state banquet with the Queen might anger hardline Republicans.

"There's always the possibility that a member of the Real IRA will be so outraged by Mr McGuinness bowing to the Queen that they might shoot him in the back for it. We can but hope," he said.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams expressed outrage at the comments, saying:

"To publicly advocate the assassination of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is a shocking throwback to a violent past from which we are seeking to move on."

Irish president to meet Cameron on day two of visit

Irish president Michael D Higgins will meet Prime Minister David Cameron in Downing Street on day two of his state visit to Britain.

Michael D Higgins delivers his speech at the Houses of Parliament yesterday. Credit: Lefteris Pitarakis/PA Wire

Mr Higgins will also attend an event to mark the contribution of the Irish people to the NHS and meet with the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

A private but significant engagement will take place at the start of the day when the Duke of York shows the president the colours of the six disbanded Irish regiments which have been preserved in Windsor since 1922.

Mr Higgins will inspect a piece of history in safekeeping for 92 years at the behest of King George V after 200,000 Irish men enlisted to fight for the Crown.

Read: Irish president in historic first state visit to UK

Tower of London lit up green to celebrate Irish state visit

The Tower of London has been lit up green this evening as a tribute to the state visit of Ireland's President, Michael Higgins.

President Higgins has today met the Queen, addressed Parliament and spoken at a state banquet at Windsor Castle.

Read: Irish President meets Queen ins historic state visit

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