Baby ashes scandal parents to meet Alex Salmond

The ashes scandal was first revealed by the Edinburgh Evening News at Mortonhall Crematorium. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
The ashes scandal was first revealed by the Edinburgh Evening News at Mortonhall Crematorium. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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The First Minister will meet parents affected by the baby ashes scandal today to hear their case for a public inquiry.

Alex Salmond will hear the first hand experiences of parents - who recently found out that their children’s ashes were scattered or discarded without their knowledge - during a private meeting in Holyrood.

He is under pressure to order a public inquiry into the practices surrounding the disposal of baby ashes.

The scandal emerged last December when it was revealed by the Edinburgh Evening News that Mortonhall crematorium in Edinburgh secretly buried the ashes of babies for decades without the knowledge of the families.

Since then other local authorities have been implicated.

Encouraged

Linsay Bonar is among the parents who was told there would be no ashes following her son’s cremation. He died in 2006 at just 33 hours old.

She said: “We are extremely encouraged that the First Minister has agreed to meet us and hear first hand what parents like me have had to endure.

“The past few months have caused complete devastation for so many parents who trusted that our precious babies would be looked after in the days and weeks following their premature deaths. The revelation that this wasn’t the case has caused fresh grief and anger and now we are asking for answers.

“We are grateful to the First Minister for making time in his demanding schedule to meet with us and we are hopeful that the meeting will be fruitful.”

An independent commission, led by former high court judge Lord Bonomy, has already been established. He will review policies and practice across Scotland in relation to the handling of ashes following the cremation of babies and infants, and make recommendations for improvements.

Former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini is already leading an investigation into practices at Mortonhall.

Inquiry

But Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said a public inquiry was needed because the current investigations will not cover all local issues.

At last week’s First Minister’s Questions she said: “This scandal has now spread from one crematorium in one part of Scotland to multiple sites, both private and public crematoria, in at least four local authority areas.

“We have the parents, knowing how long it will take, still calling for an inquiry to find out what happened to their babies’ remains.

“There is no getting away from the fact that the only party that is not supporting the parents’ call for an inquiry is the SNP.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The First Minister and the Minister for Public Health will meet with parents from Glasgow Answers for Ashes Parents (GAAP) and the Mortonhall Ashes Action Committee (MAAC) in Edinburgh tomorrow.”

See also:

Mortonhall baby ashes scandal: No criminal charges

Mortonhall scandal: Grieving parents refused babies’ ashes as mass grave at Crematorium revealed