Government urged to act on Tuam site

The Government has been urged to direct that a full forensic excavation, exhumation, and DNA testing of the remains at the Tuam site be commenced immediately.

It comes as Catherine Corless, the local historian who found the names of the 796 children who died at the former mother and baby home, has hit out at the Government for focusing “on cost” rather than committing to the fullest examination of the site.

“There was a public outcry this time last year from the Government of their shock and horror that the Tuam Home babies were buried thus, but their shock is somewhat dwindling at this stage, with the focus now on cost,” she said.

“The Tuam babies deserve a decent burial in consecrated ground alongside their relatives. Memorialising them with a statue planked on top of the septic tank is only a further slight adding to the way their little bodies were discarded in the first place.”

Ms Corless also hit out at the “callous and cold voting system” put in place by Galway County Council as part of an independent consultation process on the five options presented by the expert technical group advising the Government in how to manage the site.

Speaking during the Dáil debate on the third interim report from the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan said it was “incredible” that there was a voting procedure on the five options.

“In an email I got from one of the groups, a survivor whom I know stated: ‘Whoever in God’s name or anybody’s name was there ever a consultation about what to do with human remains. We are distraught.’ I believe this is a matter for the State, not for the local authority,” she said.

Catherine Murphy of the Social Democrats said it was possible to identify the cause of death and remains of children found at the site.

“At the time Catherine Corless made the initial revelations, I called for the scene to be declared a crime scene. If remains are unearthed where they should not be, that is what should happen. There is a need to bring in forensic anthropologists and examiners. That call stands and the work that needs to be done here cannot be neglected simply because the State, once again, is not prepared to uphold its responsibilities to the people left to the mercy of those institutions,” she said.

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