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Friday 20 September 2019

'Technology is there to take the DNA of Tuam babies'

Mass grave: Historian Catherine Corless with the list of children's names at the Tuam Mother and Babies Home site. Photo: Andy Newman
Mass grave: Historian Catherine Corless with the list of children's names at the Tuam Mother and Babies Home site. Photo: Andy Newman
Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

New technology offers a better chance of taking DNA from the remains of hundreds of babies buried in Tuam, a leading genetics professor has said.

A Government report last year had noted difficulties in using DNA to identify the remains of babies buried at the Mother and Babies Home in Co Galway.

Trinity College professor Aoife McLysaght spoke at an event with Galway historian Catherine Corless - who was awarded an honorary degree by the university yesterday.

Ms Corless was commended for uncovering the scandal of 796 children being buried in a mass grave at the home in Tuam.

Ms McLysaght said: “We have the technology to take DNA from remains such as these”.

The professor added that family members would then be needed for DNA sampling in order to identify the babies.

Addressing the scandal during a 90-minute conversation in the Edmund Burke Theatre, Ms Corless said she was astounded at what she discovered after years of research, having initially thought she was just going to do a "little essay".

She said that during her research "the Church turned its back completely on me".

Ms Corless added that she would like to see proper burials for the remains of exhumed babies "that they were utterly and totally denied".

She said that she would "like to see a little white coffin for all these children" and added they were neglected when ill, saying that: "I really believe they were just let die."

On two occasions during her talk at Trinity, Ms Corless received standing ovations from the crowd in attendance.

Irish Independent

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