Expert group to examine mother and baby home site in Tuam

Forensic archaeologist Niamh McCullagh will lead the examination at the site in Co Galway

Expert group to examine mother and baby home site in Tuam

Katherine Zappone. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Children's Minister, Katherine Zappone, says she would like to see examinations of the sites of other mother and baby homes to determine whether there are other remains that haven't been accounted for

Minister Zappone today announced the appointment of a forensic archaeologist to decide what is possible at the Tuam site in County Galway.

Forensic archaeologist Niamh McCullagh will lead a team of experts tasked with helping figure out "once and for all, if there are remains in the area outside that confirmed by the [mother and baby homes] commission".

Speaking in the Dáil, Minister Zappone said she also hopes to build consensus among survivors about what should happen next.

She told deputies: "Information is power and the expert reports will be available to everyone. When we are all speaking the same language, there is a much better chance of consensus."

The minister told reporters this evening that she is personally in favour of examining other mother and baby homes.

She explained: "If there is the possibility for remains of children that are unidentified in other homes [...] yes I would like to see the possibility of work done in that regard.

"What we're trying to do in Tuam... it's so significant, and frankly it's unparalleled throughout the world."

Earlier this year, a state inquiry confirmed 'significant quantities' of human remains at the site in Tuam.

The commission said the remains were discovered in 17 out of 20 chambers in the septic tank-style structure.

The mother and baby home in Tuam operated between 1925 and 1961, and a number of samples discovered are likely to date from the 1950s.