The Archbishop of Tuam, Michael Neary, said he welcomes the announcement that a cross-departmental examination is to be carried out of the burial arrangements for children in Mother and Baby Homes.
The remains of almost 800 babies and infants were discovered in a septic tank beside a mother and baby home run by the Bon Secours nuns in Tuam, Co Galway.
Archbishop Neary said he is shocked to learn of the magnitude of the number of children buried there and says he learned of the extent of the situation from the media and historical research.
Dr Neary said the Archdiocese of Tuam will co-operate fully - but said that material which the Bon Secours Sisters held as managers of the Mother and Baby home, was handed over to Galway County Council and the health authorities in 1961, and there is a clear moral imperative on the sisters to act upon their responsibilities.
The Childrens' Minister, Charlie Flanagan, is working on setting up an inquiry, Junior Minister Ciaran Cannon said.