WATCH: Enda Kenny hits out at Tuam "chamber of horrors"

He says Ireland as a society needs to reflect

WATCH: Enda Kenny hits out at Tuam "chamber of horrors"

Enda Kenny speaking in the Dail chamber | Image: Oireachtas screenshot

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has described the mass grave containing human remains of babies in Tuam as a "chamber of horrors".

The Galway home operated between 1925 and 1961.

It is believed several hundred children were buried at the site, and the recovered remains are likely to date from the 1950s.

Politicians on all sides of the political divide have condemned the find.

Advocacy groups have been calling for similar excavations at other former homes around the country.

On Monday, Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe said it will be considered.

Speaking in the Dáil, Mr Kenny says the discovery at the former mother and baby home shows as a society we did not just hide away the dead bodies of tiny human beings - but dug deep to bury our compassion, mercy and humanity itself.

He says there now needs to be "a period of reflection" to decide how to proceed in relation to widening the terms of reference of the commission to examine all former homes.

Mr Kenny says as a society we have to deal with this now, or another Taoiseach will be addressing it again in 20 years.

"No nuns broke into our homes to kidnap our children - we gave them up to what we convinced ourselves was that nuns care.

"We gave them up maybe to spare the the savagery of gossip, the wink and the elbow language of delight - in which the 'holier than thou's' were particularly fluent.

"And we gave them up because of our perverse, in fact morbid, relationship with what you call respectability".