Notice- 11th April 2017
Katherine Zappone TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has today (11 April 2017) published the Second Interim Report of the Commission on Mother and Baby Homes.
Second Interim Report of the Commission on Mother and Baby Homes.
Notice- 3rd March 2017
The Commission has completed its test excavation of the Tuam site.
The stratigraphic survey which was conducted in October 2015 identified a particular area of interest and identified a number of sub surface anomalies that were considered worthy of further investigation. These were further investigated by a test excavation in November/December 2016 and in January/February 2017. Test trenches were dug revealing two large structures. One structure appears to be a large sewage containment system or septic tank that had been decommissioned and filled with rubble and debris and then covered with top soil. The second structure is a long structure which is divided into 20 chambers. The Commission has not yet determined what the purpose of this structure was but it appears to be related to the treatment/containment of sewage and/or waste water. The Commission has also not yet determined if it was ever used for this purpose.
In this second structure, significant quantities of human remains have been discovered in at least 17 of the 20 underground chambers which were examined. A small number of remains were recovered for the purpose of analysis. These remains involved a number of individuals with age-at-death ranges from approximately 35 foetal weeks to 2-3 years. Radiocarbon dating of the samples recovered suggest that the remains date from the timeframe relevant to the operation of the Mother and Baby Home (the Mother and Baby Home operated from 1925 to 1961; a number of the samples are likely to date from the 1950s). Further scientific tests are being conducted.
The Commission is shocked by this discovery and is continuing its investigation into who was responsible for the disposal of human remains in this way. Meanwhile, the Commission has asked that the relevant State authorities take responsibility for the appropriate treatment of the remains. The Coroner has been informed.
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is making a statement on the matter today.
Owen Felix O'Neill
Author of Child Laundering Secrets, 2017