Concern over scale of baby probe after it emerged 800 children died at Bon Secours home in Co Galway
An independent inquiry into the mother and baby homes scandal enveloping the Republic will not be launched until it is clear it will not interfere with Garda investigations, it has been stressed.
But privately, senior cabinet ministers in Dublin have acknowledged that such an investigation will get the go-ahead within months, though there is increasing concern over the scale of its remit.
Mother and baby homes operated across Ireland for 40 years but were also intrinsically linked to industrial schools and orphanages. It emerged recently that almost 800 children died at the Bon Secours home in Co Galway, while other facilities are at the centre of secret vaccine trial and clandestine foreign adoption controversies. The vaccine trials took place from the 1930s right up to the 1960s and a forensic investigation of such trials could take years to complete.
The adoptions issue – at least 98 'secret' adoptions took place from Bessborough House in Co Cork alone – is also hugely sensitive and involves other jurisdictions.
The Dublin government is open to the inquiry being led by domestic or overseas judicial official once its precise remit is agreed.
The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, said such an inquiry must have full judicial powers and be independent of both church and State.