Consultation on Tuam home ‘not a voting process’

Council discussing if site where infant remains found should be forensically examined

The site of a mass grave for children who died in the Tuam mother-and-baby home, Galway. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The site of a mass grave for children who died in the Tuam mother-and-baby home, Galway. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

A consultation on the State’s plans for the former mother-and-baby home at Tuam in Co Galway, ranging from a full forensic examination to a memorial, is not a simple voting process, Galway County Council has said.

Five options were set out by an expert group who looked at how the State should deal with infant remains at the Tuam site. Galway County Council’s consultation process asked interested parties to select a preferred option.

Earlier this week, local historian Catherine Corless, who collected the names of 796 children who died at the home, described the consultation on the options as a “callous and cold voting system”, and called for a full forensic excavation and said DNA testing and exhumation of the remains should take place.

The five options set out by the expert group were; memorialisation, exhumation of known human remains, forensic excavation and recovery of known human remains, forensic excavation and recovery of known human remains with further excavation of other areas of interest, and a full forensic excavation of the site.

Galway County Council have said the form, which asks people to place an “X” beside their preferred option, “does not represent a voting process”.

The section on the submission template is to “offer those with an interest an opportunity to express their opinion on the five options”, a spokeswoman for the council said.

The Commission of Investigation into Mother-and-Baby Homes confirmed that “significant” quantities of human remains had been found buried under the site of the former institution for unmarried mothers, which was run by the Congregation of the Sisters of Bon Secours.

The remains of children aged from about 35 foetal weeks to three years were found.

The Tuam Home Survivors Network have called for a complete excavation of the site, to recover all human remains buried there.

Consultation meetings will also be held in Dublin and Tuam, where interested parties can put questions to experts from the technical group who examined what future steps the State could take at the site.