Tuesday 16 January 2018

Hard to identify Tuam babies due to 'mixing of remains'

A red rose comes into bloom on the site of the Mother and Babies home grave in Tuam, Co Galway. Photo Andy Newman
A red rose comes into bloom on the site of the Mother and Babies home grave in Tuam, Co Galway. Photo Andy Newman
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

The identification of infants discovered at the site of the Mother and Baby Home in Tuam has been further complicated due to the fact the remains of different children are believed to be intermingled.

In March, the Mother and Baby Home Commission of Investigation confirmed that "significant quantities" of human remains were buried at a sewage tank at the Tuam home in Co Galway.

Historian Catherine Corless has estimated the remains of up to 800 babies could be buried there.

In a report compiled for Children's Minister Katherine Zappone, the complexities of excavating the site are noted.

"Such complexities include the commingled/intermixed juvenile human remains, which were found in significant quantities in a subsurface chambered structure with limited accessibility," said the report.

"The probability that the commingling/intermixing of human remains has occurred is a significant complication to individual identification."

The report was published online by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA). Monthly updates will follow on the first Friday of every month.

The report, prepared by the expert group appointed by the Government to guide the future of the site, proposes five options.

The first suggests no further investigative work is done beyond a preliminary survey and DNA testing of the remains discovered previously.

A second option is to excavate and recover human remains from the Memorial Garden. A third option is to excavate all areas of interest which would see more people interviewed.

Another option suggests excavation of the entire land formerly occupied by the Mother and Baby Home. However, 83pc of the original site is no longer open. A programme of DNA analysis is also listed as a fifth option.

Irish Independent

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