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Cabinet approves legislation to excavate site of Tuam mother and baby home

Between 1925 and 1960, 796 children died at the Tuam mother and baby home.

The site at Tuam.
The site at Tuam.
Image: RollingNews.ie

CHILDREN’S MINISTER KATHERINE Zappone today announced that Cabinet has approved legislation which will allow the phased excavation of the mass burial site at the Tuam mother and baby home.

In a statement this afternoon, Zappone said that the Certain Institutional Burials bill will give a legal basis to carry out a “programme of phased, forensic standard excavation, exhumation and re-internment of remains at the site of the mother and baby home in Tuam”. 

In March 2017, the Commission into mother and baby homes confirmed that a “significant” number of human remains were discovered at the site of the former church-run home for unwed mothers. Scientific analysis put the age of death between 35 foetal weeks and two to three years.

Experts have previously said that the excavation of the site will be extremely complex, and that identification of the remains would be difficult, primarily because they would have “comingled”.

Between 1925 and 1960, 796 children died at the Tuam mother and baby home.

Zappone’s statement this afternoon added that the Government has approved the arrangements necessary to facilitate the transfer of the €2.5 million by the Sisters of Bon Secours towards the cost of the action.

She added that the bill will be brought before the Houses of the Oireachtas as soon as possible. 

Zappone said: “I know that family members of the children interred at the site in Tuam have been eagerly awaiting this development and I am pleased that agreement on a general scheme marks a significant milestone on our journey to afford those buried the dignity and respect that they deserve. 

“I am also mindful that local residents will be impacted by action taken at the site and I am confident that the general scheme strike an appropriate balance between doing what is right for the deceased, while minimising negative effects for those living nearby.”

With reporting by Christina Finn

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