We must get truth no matter how hard it is, says bishop
A senior Irish bishop has acknowledged that what happened at mother and baby homes must be revealed - however difficult hearing the harrowing details may prove to be.
The Bishop of Cloyne, Dr William Crean, said the full truth of what happened at such facilities "is part of our national story" and must be dealt with.
His comments came as the Government was pressed by campaign groups to ensure that a full examination of death and burial records would be conducted for all mother and baby homes in the State.
The demand came in the wake of the shocking revelations at the former Tuam facility where the remains of dozens of babies were found in an old septic tank.
Bessboro in Cork was the largest mother and baby home in operation in the State.
There have been consistent calls for a thorough re-examination of all birth and death records at Bessboro as well as major mother and baby homes in Tipperary and Dublin.
Some Irish mother and baby homes suffered from infant mortality rates of 55pc - almost six times the comparable mortality rate for babies in ordinary Irish society in the 1930s-1950s.
Dr Crean acknowledged the details of what is emerging from Ireland's historic treatment of infants and mothers is "very difficult" to hear. "This is part of our national story in the 20th century," he said.
"It is only unfolding slowly. The truth may be very difficult. But it is best that we have the truth in relation to it.
"Whatever is required in that regard will serve us well in the long term even though, in the shorter term, it might be difficult."
Bessboro records revealed that 10 women and 470 babies died between 1934 and 1953.
However, the majority of the deaths - some 273 - occurred during six years of World War II, between 1939 and 1944.