Report shows 'polarised opinions' on future of Tuam mother and baby home site

The Children's Minister says 'complex issues' need to be addressed before Government can consider a proposal

Report shows 'polarised opinions' on future of Tuam mother and baby home site

The grounds where the unmarked mass grave containing the remains of nearly 800 infants who died at the Bon Secours mother-and-baby home in Tuam, Co Galway from 1925-1961 rests | Image: RollingNews.ie

A decision on the future of the Tuam mother and baby home site has not yet been reached.

The Children's Minister says a proposal for the Galway burial site cannot be brought to Government until a number of "complex legal, technical and operational issues" are considered.

A public consultation carried out on behalf of Katherine Zappone shows that former residents of the home - along with relatives of former residents - favour a full forensic excavation.

The local community, in contrast, would prefer the site not to be disturbed and for a memorial to the hundreds of babies buried there be erected instead.

Members of the general public, meanwhile, were found said to be 'almost equally divided' between memorialisation alone and some form of forensic excavation.

Those behind the report said it is clear opinions have 'become polarised' over the issue - and that they heard a range of "heartfelt, open, honest, angry, courageous, fearful and hurt" voices.

In a statement, Minister Zappone said: "The report clearly demonstrates the range of expectations, preference and concerns among various stakeholders and the wider community. It is important that we recognise and respect this divergence of sincerely held views.

"I welcome the respect and concern expressed by all participants for the dignity of the deceased who are interred at the site. This report is an important input into the Government’s deliberations on the future of the Tuam site.”

Despite the issues blocking the Government being presented with a 'comprehensive proposal' for now, Minister Zappone added that she wants to see the work concluded 'as quickly as possible'.

The home in Tuam operated between 1925 and 1961.

Last year, the state inquiry into mother and baby homes confirmed 'significant quantities' of human remains had been discovered at the site.