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Dublin: 17 °C Tuesday 2 September, 2014

Taoiseach says he wants to know the full extent of the mass grave in Tuam and if there are other sites

The Children’s Minister said “these revelations are a reminder of our darker past where children were far from cherished”.

The grounds where the unmarked mass grave containing the remains of nearly 800 infants who died from 1925-1961 rests.
The grounds where the unmarked mass grave containing the remains of nearly 800 infants who died from 1925-1961 rests.
Image: Laura Hutton via Photocall Ireland

Updated 22:25 

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY said he wants to know the full scale of the unmarked mass grave of babies in Tuam and if there are similar graves in other parts of the country.

Kenny said that a number of officials have been drawn together to see what was involved and if it was an isolated incident.

He said he understood the situation had been known about since 1972.

RTÉ reports that when asked about an independent investigation, Kenny said that the Children’s Minister Charlie Flanagan would keep him informed on what would be the best structure to put in place.

It was announced today that a government investigation will be carried out on the graves of the Tuam babies by the end of the month.

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Charlie Flanagan said that it will not just be limited to the Tuam babies.

“The revelations in Tuam have brought to the fore the situation in other Mother and Baby Homes throughout the country”.

These revelations are a reminder of our darker past where children were far from cherished.

Flanagan announced in the Dáil today that a task force will carry out the review by the end of the month and that it will “seek and find out the truth”.

He said the government is committed to ensuring appropriate action is taken in a prompt and swift manner.

The Children’s Minister said that the practices in Mother and Baby homes to date have not featured prominently in the various reviews and investigations which have dealt with many of the past abuses.

He also added that “Tuam was not unique in Ireland as a mother-and-baby home”.

Mother and Baby Homes were not unique in Ireland as cold and brutal places of refuge from an unforgiving society.

“Whereas in their day these women and children were unjustly made to feel so much shame, we must now carry this shame for how this country dealt with them in their time of need.”

Socialist Party TD Clare Daly said that “Irish society knew full well the exploitation of the Mother and Baby homes”.

You went in expecting a baby but you never came out with one.

She cited Castlepollard and Bessboro in Cork as further examples.

Fianna Fáil TD Michael Kitt said he also wanted to see an inquiry into these deaths.

He quoted TheJournal.ie in describing the unmarked grave as “a mass grave filled to the brim with tiny skulls and bones“.

Colm Keaveney asked if the Tuam babies site was secured by Gardaí adding that there was a “deliberate unknowing” among people in Tuam.

The Children’s Minister replied, “I haven’t been in touch with the Garda Siochana, I don’t direct them on matters of crime.

“The Gardaí themselves will be expected to exercise judgment with respect to alleged criminal activity.”

Flanagan added that after the review “the government will decide on the extent and scope of further investigation”.

Originally 17:15.

Read: TD calls for Tuam mass grave to be declared a crime scene>

Read: The world is talking about Tuam’s 800 dead babies>

Read: Mass grave ‘filled to the brim with tiny bones and skulls’ shows how we cherish children>

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