Irish government approves excavation of former mother and baby home site
The Irish government has approved a forensic excavation of the site of a former state-funded, Catholic-run mother and baby home in the west of the country.
Katherine Zappone, minister for children and youth affairs, announced the excavation on 23rd October.
“I am committed to ensuring that all the children interred at this site can have a dignified and respectful burial,” she said.
Significant quantities of human remains were found in 2017 in Tuam at the site of a home run by the Bon Secours congregation of sisters from 1925 to 1961.
A Commission of Investigation was established following research by a local historian, Catherine Corless, in which she claimed that 796 infants had died in the home and been buried in an unmarked grave on the site.
Death certificates revealed that the children had died of infectious diseases and malnutrition, but that the rate of death was significantly higher than the national average for the period. The case made headlines around the world and generated significant international interest in how unmarried mothers were treated in Ireland by the Church and wider society.
The commission carried out an initial assessment of the site in 2017 and said significant quantities of human remains were discovered in at least 17 of 20 underground chambers that were examined.
Zappone described the approval as an important decision for all connected to the Tuam site.
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Picture: Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone at Government Buildings in Dublin announcing the forensic excavation of the site of a former mother and baby’s home in Tuam in Co Galway.(Niall Carson/PA).