'Significant quantity' of infant remains found at Tuam religious home

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Independent Alliance Minister of State for the OPW and Galway East TD, Sean Canney has described the finding of human remains on the site of the former Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co Galway as an upsetting development.

The story, which attracted worldwide publicity, was met with skepticism and even suggestions that it was a hoax. The remains were all found stuffed in sewage treatment works, but it is unclear whether the various chambers were ever actually used for that goal.

There is no uncertainty about the remains.

Testing indicates that the individuals involved ranged in age from 35 weeks' gestation to 2 or 3 years in age, it said.

Asked if the Commission of Investigation into mother and baby homes needs to be extended following the Tuam discovery, he said: "When the Minister for Children's talking to the commission, obviously if it needs to be extended then it will be extended".

The Bon Secours Sisters, a religious order of Catholic nuns, run the home from 1925 to 1961.

Furthermore, there've been calls for other homes around the country to be investigated after recent discoveries in Tuam. The report did not say whether researchers had yet looked for remains in that structure.

Katherine Zappone, the minister for Children and Youth Affairs, says the news is even more disgusting, now that the rumors of the Tuam babies has been proven to be true.

He added: "Some also suspect that there was unofficial disposal of the remains of babies and infants who died at the homes".

But previously the claims amounted to mere rumors, Zappone said.

The women were separated from their children, who remained elsewhere in the home, raised by nuns, until they could be adopted.

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"We will honour their memory and make sure that we take the right actions now to treat their remains appropriately", Zappone said.

An inquiry was ordered after massive national and worldwide focus on the story of the Sisters of the Bon Secours in Tuam, where the remains of 796 infants are believed to be buried.

About 35,000 unmarried mothers are thought to have spent time in one of 10 homes run by religious orders in Ireland. "Families would be afraid of neighbors finding out, because to get pregnant out of marriage was the worst thing on Earth". The home closed its shutters down in 1961.

Government records show that in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, the mortality rate for "illegitimate" children was often more than five times that of those born to married parents.

In her story, Corless claimed that there were about 800 children's remains buried in the old orphanage's septic tank.

Records show that nearly 800 deaths were recorded at the home over nearly 40 years.

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster on Monday, the historian said: "I was adamant and I did believe all along that it was only a matter of time until we came across them, so it was a good day to know that finally the truth had come out".

"Some other activists and I have done research at Castlepollard Home and the Bethenny Homes survivors have done it". It is believed several hundred children were buried at the site. "It is well known that the systematic abuse extended far beyond the homes the Commission is investigating".

"This could have gone either way", Corless told the Irish Mirror.

"None of our community were surprised, we've known about this for years", he said. The bones of the children should be extracted and buried in Tuam's main graveyard, she said.