Ireland Report on Mother and Baby Homes Reveals Abuse and Thousands of Deaths


A government-commissioned report released on Tuesday found a shocking number of deaths and widespread abuses at religious institutions in Ireland for unwed mothers and their children. Survivors say the document is a small step toward accountability after decades of horrors.

The report, the culmination of a six-year investigation, detailed some 9,000 deaths of children at 14 of the country’s so-called mother and baby homes and four county homes over several decades, a mortality rate far higher than the rest of the population. The institutions, where unmarried women and girls were sent to give birth in secrecy and were pressured to give their children up for adoption, were also responsible for unethical vaccine trials and traumatic emotional abuse, the report found.

For decades, the stories of these places and the atrocities carried out in them, were largely unspoken — despite calls from the mothers who became virtual prisoners within their walls and children who spent their earliest years there, later sharing stories of neglect and abuse.

But as the country has made strides to reckon with uglier aspects of its conservative Roman Catholic roots, deeply intertwined with the foundation of the state, there have been recent moments when the scale of the systemic abuses has been thrust into the light.

Tuesday was one of those days.

Ireland’s leader, or Taoiseach, Micheal Martin, at a news conference said the report outlined a “a dark, difficult and shameful chapter” of the country’s past, acknowledging significant failures by the state, society and church.

“It opens a window onto a deeply misogynistic culture in Ireland over several decades, with serious and systematic discrimination against women, especially those who gave birth outside of marriage,” he said. “We did this to ourselves as a society.”

Survivors of the homes say urgent action by the state is needed, and many say the Roman Catholic church, which ran the homes, needs to be held more fully accountable.

The Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors said it was disappointed in the “fundamentally incomplete” nature of the final report.

Mr. Martin and the country’s minister for children, Roderic O’Gorman, spoke with survivors earlier in the afternoon by video to discuss the contents of the report, which is more than 3,000 pages. Mr. Martin said he would issue an official state apology in front of Parliament on Wednesday, and Mr. O’Gorman pledged that the government was committed to working with survivors.

Mother and baby homes were run by religious orders, starting in the 1920s, and funded by the Irish government. But the institutions where young women and girls were taken, typically against their will, are not a thing of Ireland’s distant past. The last of the facilities was closed in 1998.

The commission focused on 18 institutions between 1922 to 1998, and was set up after reports emerged that the remains of nearly 800 babies and children were interred in an unmarked mass grave at a home run by nuns in the town of Tuam in County Galway.

Attention was initially drawn to the situation by the extensive research of a local, amateur historian, Catherine Corless, who pieced together records showing dozens of suspicious deaths of infants and children at the St. Mary’s Mother and Baby Home, but no graves associated with them. Mr. Martin thanked her by name Tuesday, calling her a “tireless crusader of dignity and truth.”

“It has been a long journey, and it hasn’t been easy,” Ms. Corless said in an interview on Tuesday morning. As evidence had piled up over the years, she said she felt compelled to pressure the government to take notice. “That’s all I could do: keep talking, keep being a voice for the people who had no voice.”

In the wake of her work, the government was forced to pay attention and formed the commission in 2015. A significant number of human remains were found at the site in Tuam in 2017.

Ms. Corless acknowledged that Tuesday was a “big day” for survivors, but said an apology from the state simply did not go far enough. She said the Bon Secours nuns, who ran the facility in Tuam, and orders that oversaw others, needed to be held accountable.

The atrocities did not play out just in Tuam. The 18 homes in Tuesday’s report spanned the country and were run by different groups of nuns. The Church ran the homes, but the newly founded Irish state worked hand-in-hand with them making many effectively state institutions in all but name.

The report detailed how 56,000 unmarried mothers and about 57,000 children came through the homes investigated by the commission during a 76-year period. It attempted to differentiate between the earliest years of the home and those that came later.

“In the years before 1960 mother and baby homes did not save the lives of ‘illegitimate’ children; in fact, they appear to have significantly reduced their prospects of survival,” the report said, adding that the women and children “should not have been in the institutions” at all.

But it also said there was “no evidence of the sort of gross abuse that occurred in industrial schools,” and said women were not forced by the state or church to enter the homes, though they were left with little choice, a point survivors took issue with.

The homes were just one part of a larger system that exploited and suppressed some of the country’s most vulnerable women and girls. Considered “fallen women,” they were relegated to the fringes, and even when they were not confined to mother and baby homes — were often pressured into giving up their newborns, often in shadowy adoptions.

After Ireland’s Sunday Independent published details of the report this week, KRW Law Human Rights, which represents a number of survivors, said the leak had further undermined confidence in the commission.

Marie Arbuckle, a survivor of one of the homes in Dublin where she gave birth to a son in 1981, said the decades since have been painful and felt the report barely scratched the surface.

“Taking a baby away from a mother, how can you say that’s not abuse?” she said. “No matter what apology they give, it cannot take back what they have stolen from us already, but own up.”

The commission’s archive has been handed over to the country’s child and family agency, though survivors had raised concerns about access to the materials. The government vowed to ensure access to their personal information and said counseling services were being offered. Mr. O’Gorman said the government had written to the religious orders involved to arrange a meeting to urge an apology and to seek compensation for the survivors.

But the church has been silent on the issue in the past.

For the survivors, the report is only the start, Ms. Corless said, adding it was time for the church and the religious orders to apologize and work with the survivors.

“Really and truly, they need an apology, not just want it, they need it for healing,” she said. “We are depending on that.”

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Concussion study reveals footballers likely to return to play with damaged brain cells


A study that tracked amateur Australian Rules football players for five years has found they likely returned to play from concussion with elevated levels of damaged brain cells, despite reporting no symptoms.

The Monash University study collected blood samples from 28 male and female players, from Melbourne University Blacks, at two, six and 13 days after getting concussed between 2017 and 2019 to complete the study.

Researchers then focused on the blood bio-marker, known as the protein Neurofilament light (NfL), which if found at elevated levels can indicate brain cell damage.

Richmond’s Marlion Pickett acknowledges Port’s Brad Ebert as the Power veteran leaves the field with concussion in the 2020 preliminary final, his last game before retiring. Credit:Getty Images

NfL was observed at increased levels in 20 players’ blood samples at six and 13 days post-concussion, but not after two days when symptoms were present. Researchers therefore found that blood bio-marker changes were present in those concussed after symptoms had subsided.

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Part mammal, bird and reptile: Genome mapping reveals how the platypus came to be


EDMONTON —
Ever since Europeans discovered the platypus in the late 1700s, the bizarre, duck-billed, semi-aquatic creature has perplexed researchers.

The creature, with its toothless duck-like bill, webbed feet, ankle spikes full of venom, and glowing fur, stunned researchers with its appearance alone, long before it was discovered that it could both lay eggs and produce milk for its young.

Modern day researchers are still trying to understand how the platypus, largely considered to be the world’s oddest mammal, came to be – until now.

For the first time, researchers at the University of Copenhagen have mapped a complete platypus genome, providing answers to how some of the platypus’ bizarre features emerged.

The platypus belongs to an ancient group of mammals – monotremes – which existed millions of years prior to the emergence of any modern-day mammal.

By comparing the platypus’ genome with that of one of the only other living monotreme species, the short-beaked echidna, researchers can build a better understanding of the genes that led to the creatures’ distinctive traits.

“Indeed, the platypus belongs to the Mammalia class. But genetically, it is a mixture of mammals, birds and reptiles. It has preserved many of its ancestors’ original features — which probably contribute to its success in adapting to the environment they live in,” professor Guojie Zhang, University of Copenhagen researcher, said in a press release.

Monotremes are best known for their unique ability to both lay eggs and nurse their young once they’ve hatched.

Researchers note that one of the platypus’ most unusual characteristics is its ability to feed its hatched young by excreting milk through its sweat.

According to the research, published this week in the journal Nature, during our own evolution, humans lost their vitellogenin genes, which are important for the production of egg yolks. Chickens, for example, have all three of these genes. Instead, we developed casein genes, which are responsible for our ability to produce casein protein, a major component in mammalian milk.

Platypuses still carry one vitellogenin gene, despite having lost the other two roughly 130 million years ago, which allows them to lay eggs. But they also carry the casein genes, allowing the creatures to develop milk that is very similar to cow’s milk.

“It informs us that milk production in all extant mammal species has been developed through the same set of genes derived from a common ancestor which lived more than 170 million years ago, alongside the early dinosaurs in the Jurassic period,” Zhang said.

ONLY ANIMAL WITH 10 SEX CHROMOSOME

The research has also shed light on one of the most perplexing platypus topics – determining the creatures’ sex.

Every other mammal on earth, including humans, have two sex chromosomes. But the platypus has 10, including five Y and five X chromosomes.

Researchers now believe the chromosomes were organized in a ring form, which was later broken away into many small pieces of X and Y chromosomes in ancient monotreme ancestors.

At the same time, the genome mapping reveals that the monotreme sex chromosomes have more in common with chickens than with humans, suggesting an evolutionary link between mammals and birds.

“Decoding the genome for platypus is important for improving our understanding of how other mammals evolved, including us humans,” explained Zhang of the Department of Biology.

“It holds the key as to why we and other eutherian mammals evolved to become animals that give birth to live young instead of egg-laying animals.”​

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Safety probe reveals why alleged drug flight between PNG and Australia ended in disaster


An alleged drug flight to smuggle 500kg of cocaine from Papua New Guinea to Queensland came to a fiery end in July last year after a wing tip was ripped off a plane while landing in torrential rain on makeshift airstrip outside the capital Port Moresby.

Papua New Guinea’s Accident Investigation Commission has released a report that details how the drug run – thought to be the biggest in the country’s history – came undone. 

The report highlighted failures in the management of aviation distress signals and search and rescue operations in PNG.

Australian pilot David John Cutmore told investigators he turned off the plane’s transponder to fly at low altitude into PNG on 26 July.

Wing tip sheered off during landing.

AIC Report

“As the aircraft approached to land, the outboard section of the left wing clipped a tree and separated from the aircraft and the pilot continued on with the approach and landed,” the report said.

The damaged plane was loaded with “cargo”, which police allege was half-a-tonne of cocaine, and refuelled.

After 20 minutes on the ground at Papa-Lealea, Cutmore attempted to take-off.

“The pilot reported … he lined up and commenced the take-off roll. As the aircraft lifted off, he noticed that the airspeed indicator was not working and that the aircraft was not achieving a positive rate of climb,” the report said.

He touched back down and careered off the end of the airstrip. The AIC report said the missing section of left wing affected the plane’s ability to produce lift.

Alleged haul of cocaine.

Alleged haul of cocaine.

AFP

AFP officers waiting at Mareeba airport to nab the pilot and the estimated $160m haul were left empty handed after a two-year investigation code-named Operation Weathers.

But five people were later charged in Queensland and Victoria over the failed smuggling operation.

Cutmore, an unemployed flight instructor, turned himself in to authorities in PNG and has since pleaded guilty to one charge of unlawful entry in breach of immigration laws. He has not been charged with any other offences.

David John Cutmore arrives at PNG court last year.

David John Cutmore arrives at PNG court last year.

EMTV

AIC reported the force of the impact automatically set-off the plane’s emergency beacon but PNG authorities accounted for all local aircraft and ignored the distress signal.

Investigators said they could not be sure if the “cargo” contributed to the crash because it had been unloaded and the plane set on fire afterwards by the smugglers.

By the time AIC investigators finally arrived, PNG police and AFP officers had already secured the crash site.

The report into the safety issues recommended government-owned NiuSky Pacific (formerly PNG Air Services) “implement effective procedures” to manage distress signals and search and rescue operations to international standards.

It noted NiuSky responded saying “operational procedures are in the process of a full review and rewrite” as part of an upgrade of air traffic control systems and manuals “contain adequate procedures” and senior staff are trained for such incidents.

AIC described the NiuSky response as “unsatisfactory” for failing to “address the safety issues identified during the investigation”.

It also recommended PNG’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) ensure effective oversight of aviation service providers’ search and rescue operations.

A spokesperson for Australia’s CASA said, “it will review the report and consider any associated safety related issues”.

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Extraordinary audio recording reveals worrying insight into Trump’s state of mind | US News


Donald Trump’s hour-long call urging Georgia’s Republican secretary of state to “find 11,780 votes” sounded desperate and deluded.

The recording was a worrying insight into the president’s state of mind – seemingly convinced by the many conspiracy theories about why he lost the election, and unwilling to listen to the facts from members of his own party.

For weeks now there have been reports the president had accepted his election loss behind closed doors but was continuing to peddle the narrative that it was stolen to save face and keep donations pouring in.

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Trump recorded pressuring election official

However, the conversation between Mr Trump and Georgia’s Brad Raffensberger indicated he is still actively pursuing ways to overturn the election. And the president’s veiled threat suggests he’s willing to play dirty.

With less than three weeks to go before Joe Biden takes office, Mr Trump’s behaviour seems increasingly erratic and potentially dangerous.

Among a barrage of tweets on Sunday, he urged his supporters to converge on Washington DC for a protest march against the election result on Wednesday.

He tweeted: “I will be there. Historic day!”

But the pro-Trump rallies drawing demonstrators to the capital threaten to turn violent, with members of armed right-wing groups also pledging to attend.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers are adding fuel to Mr Trump’s baseless claims of a “rigged” election.

Wednesday’s protest coincides with a vote in Congress to certify Mr Biden’s victory. It’s usually a ceremonial proceeding but a dozen Republican senators say they plan to object, and are calling for an electoral commission to carry out an emergency audit of votes in contested states.

Vice President Mike Pence, who will preside over Wednesday’s vote, has also supported their challenge.

There is no credible evidence to support anything other than a decisive Joe Biden victory and this latest move by Republican senators, led by Ted Cruz of Texas, will inevitably fail.

So why are these lawmakers planning to contest Wednesday’s vote? Do they really agree with this theory the election was cheated?

Joe Biden
Image:
Joe Biden will take office in less than three weeks

Some of those challenging the result are rising stars in the Republican Party and their move is seen as an attempt to win favour with President Trump and his loyal base of supporters. Critics are accusing them of putting their political ambition ahead of their constitutional responsibility.

The claims of fraud have been rejected by the former attorney general and electoral officials on both sides.

Court after court has thrown out legal challenges from the Trump campaign, including the Supreme Court with its conservative majority.

Mr Biden won by more than seven million votes nationally and gained 74 more electoral college votes than Mr Trump – the same margin of victory Mr Trump repeatedly called a “landslide” when it favoured him in 2016.

Protests by Trump supporters and challenges by Republican politicians won’t change the outcome of the election.

Donald Trump will be succeeded, but it seems Trumpism may be here to stay. And his greatest legacy will likely be the erosion of trust in American democracy.



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Tech expert reveals Ga. voting machines connected to Chinese vendor


Voters cast their ballots at Centreville High School in Clifton, Virginia. (Photo credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 9:30 AM PT – Friday, January 1, 2021

Just days ahead of the Senate runoff elections in Georgia, a tech expert unveiled key vulnerabilities in the peach state’s voting machines.

During a Thursday livestream, inventor Jovan Pulitzer revealed dominion machines set to be used in the key election seem to be connected to a vendor in China.

This followed Pulitzer’s Wednesday testimony before the Georgia Senate Judiciary subcommittee when he demonstrated his ability to connect a dominion voting machine to the internet. This came despite claims by state election officials that the electronic voting machines do not connect to the web.

“At this very moment at a polling location in the county, not only do we now have access through the devices to the poll pad, the system, but we are in,” Pulitzer stated.

The inventor noted this as a key design flaw which opens up the machines to tampering efforts by malicious actors.

Pulitzer announced he will bring forward two reports on his findings in the coming days.

MORE NEWS: Ariz. Citizens Hold Press Conference On Voter Fraud





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Hermes delivery driver reveals why he quit job after just TWO DAYS


A Hermes delivery driver quit his job after just two days because he had to spend 45 minutes a day sorting through parcels without pay, he claims.

Matt Solomons worked two shifts at Deliveries247, a company based in Greenford, North London, which is contracted by Hermes.

Sharing pictures of the depot online, the 23-year-old said parcels were left ‘everywhere,’ including on the damp ground, before being ‘stuffed’ into delivery vehicles.

Joining the company less than two weeks before Christmas, Mr Solomons said it took him 45 minutes to sort parcels into his vehicle – time he claims he was not paid for.   

Parcels set to be delivered just days before Christmas were left lying on the damp ground outside Delivery247 – company contracted by Hermes – according to one courier who quit his job after just two days 

He explained: ‘You take out your assigned round to your car, and you have to scan all these parcels and ideally order them so you can load up efficiently.

‘This takes about 30-45 minutes if not more and all of this is unpaid.

‘Each of those parcels is worth 50p and boxes are £1, so before you even deliver them you have to faff around sorting them.

‘For me at least, it seemed like a lot of unpaid work, and you want to do it as quickly as possible or else you’re literally losing time and money.

‘Plus obviously it’s not a great look when you have the parcels on the floor and you’re trying to stuff them in your car.’

The former courier claims he was not paid for his first shift on December 16, during which he delivered 20 parcels, as it counted towards his training.

Matt Solomons claims he was not paid for his first 20 deliveries, or for sorting out parcels for 45 minutes, during his two days working at a delivery service in Greenford, North London

Matt Solomons claims he was not paid for his first 20 deliveries, or for sorting out parcels for 45 minutes, during his two days working at a delivery service in Greenford, North London

The 23-year-old shared pictures of the sorting office online, with shocked social media users branding the images 'despicable'

The 23-year-old shared pictures of the sorting office online, with shocked social media users branding the images ‘despicable’ 

Speaking today, he said: ”Even though I delivered 20 parcels for them, some of them were for Hermes.

‘This means that had I not refused to deliver another hour’s worth on the first day, that round would also have been unpaid.

‘To me, they tried to cheat me into giving them free labour and that really sent me over.

‘I didn’t care about losing money, it was more the principle of trying to take advantage of me like that.’

After sharing images from the depot online on Tuesday, social media users were up in arms, as one person said the scenes were ‘diabolical’.

Another added: ‘One of the worst companies I’ve dealt with.’ 

And another joked: ‘Is that my next parcel that’s gone missing?’ 

Following contact from the press, Deliveries247 has confirmed Matt will be paid for his training shift.

However, the former courier expressed doubt over their motivation, he said: ‘The woman who hired me said that this is the big topic at the depot right now.

‘They didn’t like that I went public, rather than complaining internally, but I just wanted to share my experience.

‘They say that I will get paid for the first day, but this contradicts what my direct manager said.’

A spokeswoman for Deliveries247 said: ‘Once basic training has finished, drivers are then given the option to go live delivering up to 20 Parcels max, which Matt had agreed to do so.

‘At Deliveries247 we do not pressurise our drivers to do extra work, however, when Matt returned to the depot, he was given the option to deliver more parcels.

Deliveries247 has since confirmed that Mr Solomons will be paid for the 20 parcels he delivered, after initially refusing to pay him by claiming it was part of his training

Deliveries247 has since confirmed that Mr Solomons will be paid for the 20 parcels he delivered, after initially refusing to pay him by claiming it was part of his training

‘I have looked through our deliveries inbox and cannot find any email from Matt Solomons regarding his resignation.

‘All parcels scanned and delivered under Matt Solomons driver number will be calculated, and payment will be made on Tuesday 12th January 2021 into the bank account he provided.

‘I have already discussed this with Matt earlier today who sincerely apologised for his behaviour towards Hermes/Deliveries247 code of conduct and had agreed to remove the post from social media.’

However, Matt says he only apologised for the ‘distress’ the post caused, and that it was removed against his will.

A spokeswoman for Hermes said: ‘Mr Solomons does not have a contract with Hermes, but he may have provided services for one of our self-employed couriers, who would be responsible for his payment and terms of business.

‘We are unable to comment further on any dispute between two independent parties. ‘



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Rare soldier’s diary reveals secret massacre of Indigenous Tasmanians after almost 200 years


A soldier’s diary disintegrating in Ireland’s national library has revealed disturbing evidence of an undocumented massacre of Aboriginal people in Tasmania in the colony’s early years.

The diary belonged to Private Robert McNally, posted to Van Diemen’s Land in the 1820s, and records in gritty detail colonial life and encounters with settlers and a notorious bushranger.

But it’s his account of his part in the cover up a massacre of men and women on March 21, 1827, near Campbell Town in the Northern Midlands, that stunned University of Tasmania history professor Pam Sharpe.

Searching the National Library of Ireland catalogue for documents about settlers, Professor Sharpe found a note referring to “two volumes in bad condition” of a soldier’s writings.

The National Library of Ireland is restoring Robert McNally’s diaries.(Supplied: Pam Sharpe)

Unearthed, the diaries were identified as the work of McNally, an Irishman who served in Ireland, India, Sydney and Van Diemen’s Land, Professor Sharpe told ABC Radio Hobart.

Professor Sharpe said she approached the find with low expectations, but that soon changed when she got her hands on the first of two notebooks.

“I didn’t hold out much hope that it would be interesting, but I opened it and it was absolutely fascinating,” she said.

What she read prompted Professor Sharpe to divert her research funding to have the handwritten entries digitised. Efforts are underway to conserve what remains of a second McNally volume in poor condition.

“It is extremely unusual, very valuable, and completely worth diverting my research to investigate because some of these things aren’t on the record about Van Diemen’s Land,” Professor Sharpe said.

Midlands Highway at Campbell Town, Tasmania, May 13 2020.
Campbell Town today, near the scene of a chilling episode recorded by McNally.(ABC News: Jessica Moran)

She said the diaries recounted McNally’s time with the infantry from 1815 to 1836.

“He gets to Van Diemen’s Land around about the time that Governor [George] Arthur comes — 1825. He’s here for three years,” Professor Sharpe said.

‘Bonfire of bodies’

Professor Sharpe said she was disturbed to read McNally’s account of the aftermath of a deadly confrontation between a livestock handler named Shaw and local Indigenous people on the Sutherland Estate.

“McNally doesn’t actually see any Aboriginal people for the first few months, but then he is involved in some alarming episodes,” she said.

“He was called to [the scene of] a massacre that my researchers and I can’t find any other evidence of.”

McNally wrote:

“A man of the name of Shaw came to me with information that he had killed six of the natives, two of which was woman.

“I advised him to say no more about it but keep it as a secret as he would be called to an account before a justice. He took me to the place where I saw him make a bonfire of these bodies.”

Photograph of a page of a colonial diary with cursive writing
Robert McNally has written about witnessing a horrific massacre of Aboriginal people.(Supplied: Pam Sharpe)

A lot of violence perpetrated against Aboriginal people happened in remote areas of Van Diemen’s Land and many incidents were not recorded, Professor Sharpe said.

“It is horrific, absolutely awful, but unfortunately it is probably the story of what happened to a lot of Aboriginal people in the 1820s,” she said

The University of Newcastle’s Professor Lyndall Ryan, who created an online map of massacres in Australia, said there were lots of massacres that never came to light.

“Most of them were carried out in secret. If you were caught, you would be hanged,” Professor Ryan said.

‘Colonials hid massacres’

Heather Sculthorpe, chief executive of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, said any new information would need to be substantiated.

“It will be exciting if there is new information, but we do need it to be historically verified,” she said.

“There has been a lot of work done on the history of Tasmania, but of course there is more to be found.

Professor Sharpe said she had only had four hours to examine the McNally diary before returning home to Hobart. She hadn’t even seen the second volume, because it was covered in mould and deemed too fragile.

But the research continues.

“After a lot of effort, and the involvement of the Irish ambassador to Australia, the National Library of Ireland is now conserving [the second volume],” Professor Sharpe said.

Famous episode with the gentleman bushranger

Old drawing of three men in suits
Private Robert McNally recounts coming eye to eye with Matthew Brady, centre, who was known as the gentleman convict.(Supplied)

According to his diary, McNally witnessed another famous event in Tasmania’s history.

Matthew Brady was known as the “gentleman bushranger” and one of his most audacious actions was the capture of the entire township of Sorell, near Hobart, in November 1825.

His “gentlemanly” attributes included rarely robbing women and fine manners while stealing from men.

Photograph of a white woman with short dark hair and glasses, sitting in a cafe
Professor Pam Sharpe says she was surprised to find the level of detail in the diaries.(Supplied: Pam Sharpe)

“To start with [McNally is] chasing Matthew Brady, who more or less held the whole island to ransom,” Professor Sharpe said.

“I mean, Brady and his gang are running rampant.

“That’s quite a famous episode, so it’s just fantastic to have a very close and detailed account of this.”

Immense drinking and women trouble

Professor Sharpe said the McNally diary also documented the minutiae of colonial life.

“There is a lot of everyday detail, including what they wore, what they do all the time and all the drinking they do, which is immense,” she said.

“He really struggles with forming relationships with women.”

Signs of authenticity

Professor Sharpe said McNally was born in the 1790s and died in 1874 in Ireland.

She said she had strong indications the diary was McNally’s own work and not that of an amanuensis, or person employed to take dictation or copy other people’s experiences, which was common at the time.

She said the library conservator had established the diary was very early 19th century handmade paper.

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International effort underway to restore a piece of Tasmanian history
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“We’ve been able to fact check against military records, newspaper reports and so far, Robert McNally is where he says he is,” Professor Sharpe said.

“We know that writers of military memoirs sometimes put themselves into the spotlight, as Albert Facey did in A Fortunate Life when he gives a description of the beginning of Gallipoli, when we know he wasn’t there.

“In the McNally diaries there is quite a famous incident in Ireland called the Churchtown Burnings and Robert says he is nearby but not actually there.

“This gives us confidence that, when he gives himself a central role in the Sorell jail hold-up by Matthew Brady a few years later, he was actually there, and he did what he describes.”

Robert Hogan is working as a research assistant on the diaries, and has found Private McNally’s service record in the British National Archives.

“The information he gives in the journal is consistent with military history,” Mr Hogan said.

“I found that he joined the 96th Regiment in 1816 and when they disbanded in 1818 he moved immediately to join the 40th Regiment.

“His length of service in each place is consistent with what he says in his diaries.”



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Ex-Bloomberg Reporter, Christie Smythe, Who Covered Martin Shkreli Reveals Relationship With Him


“I didn’t hide how much I interacted with him,” she told The Times. “I don’t really think I did anything wrong. I realize, in hindsight, maybe earlier I should have acted a little more proactively. But, honestly, I don’t think any harm was done.”

Bloomberg News said it had found no bias in Ms. Smythe’s coverage of Mr. Shkreli.

“Ms. Smythe’s conduct with regard to Mr. Shkreli was not consistent with expectations for a Bloomberg journalist,” a Bloomberg News spokesperson said. “It became apparent that it would be best to part ways. Ms. Smythe tendered her resignation, and we accepted it.”

Ms. Smythe said she had no regrets about how she had dealt with the ethically perilous issue of covering someone she had developed feelings for. “In journalism school, they don’t really tell you what to do when this comes up,” she said. “I just tried to muddle through it and handle things as best as I could.”

She added, “I hadn’t had a romantic relationship with him at the time. I hadn’t slept with him. I just cared about him. So it’s messy. How do you deal with that?”

Now, it seems, the relationship might be off. Ms. Smythe said she had last seen Mr. Shkreli in person in February, when she visited him in the Pennsylvania facility, before the pandemic flared in the United States.

“We were talking that day about me possibly doing something publicly, and he was in favor of it at the time,” she said. But then, she added, Mr. Shkreli “freaked out” when the possibility of her going public became more real. “He’s got a lot of kind of PTSD around media exposure,” Ms. Smythe said, “and he’s sort of attached to his villain image as a sort of a safe space.”

She had last spoken with him on the phone in the summer and said he no longer replied to her emails. Still, she said, she would wait for Mr. Shkreli, who is due for release in September 2023.

“I love him,” she said. “I’m here for him.”



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