Belfast Telegraph

Garda is set to probe bones find at Galway mum and baby home

By Alan O'Keeffe

Police in the Republic are liaising with the State coroner investigating the Tuam Mother and Children's Home deaths as a full criminal probe looks increasingly likely.

Last week the presence of a large number of human remains in a septic tank was confirmed at the site, which was run by the Bon Secours nuns.

Relatives of children who died at the home now want full Garda involvement in the investigation being undertaken by a State Commission of Investigation.

Tuam-based Minister of State at the Office of Public Works Sean Canney said it is open to the Coroner for North Galway to call on the support of the gardai and any other authorities as he may deem necessary.

"If there is to be a Garda investigation, so be it. Whatever is required in order to give closure to people," he said.

Housing minister Simon Coveney also said on RTE it was "difficult to see" why gardai would not be involved.

"I mean you look at the way in which children's bodies were literally discarded in the way they were," he said.

Referring to the old septic tank and waste water installation on the site of the now demolished home, he said: "Seventeen of the 20 chambers had remains in them. It's hard to see that there wouldn't be gardai involved in the case.

"People shouldn't only be talking about the Bon Secours sisters, although obviously they do have questions to answer, but this was a site that was owned by the State," he said.

"And it is still owned by Galway County Council."

A Garda spokeswoman said yesterday the force is liaising with the coroner on this matter.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary said he was "horrified and saddened" at the "extent of the numbers" of children buried at the site of the institution.

He pledged to obtain "a dignified re-interment" of the remains in co-operation with families of the deceased. In his homily yesterday, he said the commission's finding pointed to a time of great suffering and pain for the little ones and their mothers, which had left him "very upset".

He said: "I can only begin to imagine the huge emotional wrench which the mothers suffered in giving up their babies for adoption or by witnessing their death."

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