Local authorities are to be asked to review lands that formerly housed mother and baby homes to prevent unsuitable developments from proceeding.
Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman says his priority is to ensure that lands such as Bessborough in Cork city, where over 900 infants born at or associated with the site died, are sensitively treated.
The move comes after two planning applications for housing developments on lands attached to the former Bessborough home were rejected earlier this year.
A separate, unrelated proposal is now the subject of a consultation between a private developer and An Bord Pleanála. It is focused on different lands on the former Bessborough estate.
"The Government has intervened in terms of the last two planning applications that were impacting on the area of the (Bessborough) site that has been identified by the Cork Survivors Alliance and by others as a potential burial site," Mr O'Gorman said.
"I made a submission at the oral hearing before An Bord Pleanála (ABP) and I was very pleased that ABP made its decision to refuse planning for the strategic housing development (SHD at Bessborough) and that Cork City Council made its decision to refuse planning as well.
"The Bessborough lands — it is a very large site.
"We will continue to engage with Cork City Council with regard to the protection of that land."
Mr O'Gorman confirmed that he had written to Local Government Minister Daragh O'Brien about the matter of developments on former mother and baby home sites.
"I asked him to engage with all local authorities where there is a mother and baby institution and direct them that, in their development plan, they would look at putting specific protections on those sites.
"I know that Cork City Council is undertaking its development plan at the moment and I think there is a real opportunity at the moment to put real protection on that site.
"I think Cork City Council and city councillors are in the best position to identify what is the long term best use for that particular part of the site."