Tuam site to be fully excavated to recover remains of children

The Children's Minister says every reasonable effort will be made to locate and recover the remains of all children

Tuam site to be fully excavated to recover remains of children

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

Updated 18:00

The site of the former mother and baby home in Tuam will be fully and forensically excavated to recover the remains of children buried there, the Children's Minister has announced.

The Bon Secours home in Co Galway 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.

The Government decided a full excavation was the best way forward at its Cabinet meeting this morning.

A forensic examination will aim to identify the remains of all children buried at the site.

Arrangements for reburial or memorialisation of those children will then be arranged.

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone says 'every reasonable effort' will be made to locate and recover the remains of all children buried in Tuam, and her Department will lead the process.

She said: “I understand that this is a hugely important decision for all connected to the site in Tuam, most especially those who believe they may have a loved one buried there and those now living close to the site.

"I am committed to ensuring that all the children interred at this site can have a dignified and respectful burial."

Minister Zappone noted that there is no clear timeline for when excavation work can start, as legislation needs to be passed to allow it to happen.

She also added that at the moment there’s no definite figures on how many people’s remains may be buried at the site.

Campaigner Catherine Corless - the local historian whose work led to the discovery of the site at Tuam - has welcomed today's development, saying it's a great day for survivors.

Local Tuam historian Catherine Corless, pictured at the gate to grounds where the unmarked mass grave containing the remains of infants who died at the Bon Secours mother and baby home. Photo: Laura Hutton/RollingNews.ie

Speaking on the Hard Shoulder, She said: "I am absolutely overwhelmed with the whole announcement. I didn't expect it, and neither did the survivors - we thought we had a further battle on our hands.

"It's a statement that those children mattered, that they do deserve dignity, and they do deserve recognition and to give them a name."

Additional reporting by Sean Defoe