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Tuam babies site to be excavated

The former Mother and Baby Home in Tuam is the burial site for as many as 800 children.


By Anthony Neeson

The Irish government has given the go ahead for the excavation of the site of the former Mother and Baby Home in Tuam in County Galway.

It is believed that almost 800 children were buried at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home, which ran as a maternity home for unmarried mothers and their children from 1925 to 1961. The remains will be forensically examined and then reburied.

Announcing the decision, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone, said it was hugely important for all connected to the site in Tuam “most especially those who believe they may have a loved one buried there and those now living close to the site.”

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She said she was committed to ensuring that all the children interred at the site can have a dignified and respectful burial.

“While we must not underestimate the legal and technical challenges ahead, this comprehensive and scientific approach provides us with the best opportunity to address the many deeply personal questions to which former residents and their families need answers,” Zappone said.

“I am also mindful of minimizing the level of disruption for those who live in the vicinity of the site.

“Such a task has never been undertaken or contemplated previously. It has taken us more time than first anticipated to examine the unprecedented technical and legal issues which arise in seeking to appropriately respond to the tragic discovery of comingled juvenile remains at this site.

“It is only by taking the right actions now can we truly demonstrate our compassion and commitment to work towards justice, truth and healing for what happened in our past and, most especially, for those who were previously abandoned.”

Meanwhile, the women who unearthed the story of the Tuam babies are set to receive an honorary patronage from the Trinity College Philosophical Society.

The honor has been previously bestowed upon John B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker.