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go-ahead Tuam mother and baby home exhumation will start in 2022 says Roderic O’Gorman

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The grotto at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home site in Tuam, Galway. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The grotto at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home site in Tuam, Galway. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The grotto at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home site in Tuam, Galway. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Exhumations will go ahead at the site of the Tuam mother and baby home next year, the Minister for Children has told the Irish Independent.

Roderic O’Gorman was responding after Tuesday night’s broadcast of the documentary The Missing Children in relation to the remains of 796 babies that could be in a submerged septic tank on the site.

A test dig four years ago found 20 ordered crevices containing a “significant amount” of human remains. There are also children from the home who have disappeared, listed as dead, with no death certs, or burial records, as required by law.

“The minister is acutely conscious of the urgent need to pass legislation in order to allow exhumation at the site in Tuam,” Mr O’Gorman’s department said.

“He hopes to bring it through the legislative process as quickly as possible to allow exhumation of the site in 2022.”

Mr O’Gorman said: “With regard to Mother and Baby and County Home institutions, the State failed time and again to protect some of its most vulnerable citizens, and to uphold its duty of care towards them.”

The minister said he had met many survivors and family members, and visited the site at Tuam, hearing first hand “of the pain and suffering caused”.

The programme claimed there was a systemised export market in Irish citizens, without the consent of their typically unmarried mothers who were incarcerated in the homes.

Americans who were adopted as children provided a series of letters from the Bon Secours nuns thanking adoptive parents for their donations, which were up to a year’s salary in some cases. The order chose not to take part in the programme.

Minister O’Gorman said he and his officials “have an absolute resolve to restore the dignity of the children inappropriately interred at the Tuam site, and to address the broader needs and concerns of survivors and their families as a matter of urgency”.


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