Catherine Corless urges Taoiseach to pass legislation allowing exhumation of Tuam mass grave

Historian Catherine Corless has written to the Taoiseach calling for legislation to allow the exhumation of babies “buried in a sewage sy...



Historian Catherine Corless has written to the Taoiseach calling for legislation to allow the exhumation of babies “buried in a sewage system” at Tuam to be passed urgently.

t is believed up to 800 babies and children could have been buried in a mass grave on the site of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home after excavations uncovered an underground structure divided into 20 chambers containing “significant quantities of human remains”.

The legislation needed for the remains to be exhumed and DNA testing to be carried out to try and identify the babies is due to be passed by the end of the year.

Ms Corless said the current timeline means the removal of remains will not start until next year at the earliest.

“This will be too late for some survivors and families, many of whom are in their 80s and 90s,” she told the Irish Independent.

“The timeline of one year is only for the passing of the bill. After that they have to get a team together to figure out how the children can be exhumed. If they pass the bill now all that can be done this year and the work can start.

“That’s what I have been pleading for and I have written to the Taoiseach and all the parties to please pass this legislation as soon as possible.”

In her letter, sent to Micheál Martin and members of all political parties, Ms Corless said “too much time has been wasted already.”

“I am asking the Oireachtas to listen to the voices of the survivors who have family buried in the sewage facility and to the unheard voices of the babies who were discarded in such a horrific manner,” she wrote.

Ms Corless attached pages of the 5th Interim Report from the Commission of Inquiry to her letter, writing that “the archaeologists at the time took numerous photographs of their discovery in the chambers, but the little skeletal remains are blacked out, and rightly so.

“Important to note is the summary from the archaeologists, where they clearly indicate the babies remains were buried in a sewage system, and that it is not appropriate to leave them like this.”

The Mother and Baby Home at Tuam was run by the Bon Secours Sisters on behalf of Galway County Council, between 1925 and 1961.

Last month, the local authority said it engaged with people who had a connection to the burial site in Tuam to work toward “the Government’s agreed course of action.”

Ms Corless said she hopes this will involve the council ensuring the exhumation process is expedited.

“We have waited three years after the babies were discovered, and then another year. Why is it taking until the end of the year, when the Oireachtas can do it within a few weeks if they wanted?” she said.

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Newsrust: Catherine Corless urges Taoiseach to pass legislation allowing exhumation of Tuam mass grave
Catherine Corless urges Taoiseach to pass legislation allowing exhumation of Tuam mass grave
https://www.independent.ie/news/7b26f/40077899.ece/AUTOCROP/w1240h700/SN%20DC%20CORLESS031
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