July report found 89% of relatives of dead Tuam children want total excavation

Majority living in area close to former mother and child home opposed to extensive exhumation

A significant number of infant remains were confirmed on the site of the former home in March 2017. File photograph: The Irish Times

A significant number of infant remains were confirmed on the site of the former home in March 2017. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

Relatives of children who lived in the Tuam mother and baby home wanted a full forensic excavation of the site along with DNA analysis, it emerged in a report last July.

The finding followed a public consultation process on the options and appropriate courses of action available to the Government in relation to the site of the former home in Tuam.

However, it also found that a majority of people resident near the former home preferred a memorial be erected and existing remains not be disturbed any further.

Preferences from members of the general public were as divided between memorialisation alone, some form of forensic excavation and DNA analysis. While the majority in the latter group favoured the most extensive intervention.

A significant number of infant remains were confirmed on the site of the former home in March 2017. A multidisciplinary technical group was commissioned to explore feasible options available to the Government. Their report was published last December by Ms Zappone.

Galway County Council then conducted a consultation process in response to the technical group’s options. It invited submissions from interested people, organisations and provided opportunities for dialogue. Being an interested party, it also employed two independent facilitators, Catherine O’Connell and Barbara Walshe, to conduct the process.

In all, 799 written submissions were sent to the council. An analysis of these found that two options were clearly favoured by the majority. These were memorialisation alone, favoured by 392, and a complete forensic excavation of the site with DNA analysis, favoured by 328.

Of the written submissions made, the largest group 568 (71 per cent) were from the public with 131 submissions from local residents whose homes surround the site of the former home. Of local residents, 87 per cent favoured memorialisation and non-disturbance.

A total of 78 submissions were made by relatives of former residents. And 19 of those who made written submissions were former residents of the home, 63 per cent of whom favoured forensic excavation of the total area. Of the relatives, 89 per cent favoured such total excavation.

The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, which is due to report next Spring, has also investigated the site as part of its work. Last summer it completed works to reinstate the area which they had been investigating.