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Further probe of Tuam Mother and Baby Home site to begin on July 17

Friday, 7th July, 2017 7:30pm

Story by Siobhan Holliman
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Further probe of Tuam Mother and Baby Home site to begin on July 17

Photo: Ray Ryan

Further probe of Tuam Mother and Baby Home site to begin on July 17

Photo: Ray Ryan

FURTHER investigations are to be carried out at the site of the former Mother and Baby Home in Tuam within the next two weeks.

Geophysical surveys of the site, including the playground and green spaces near the existing memorial garden, will be carried out, commencing on July 17.

Details of a preliminary report by the multidisciplinary team of experts charged with providing technical advice to Government on possible options regarding the Tuam site were published this evening (Friday).

It’s stated that the surveys will be non-invasive and will not involve any excavation, but they may assist with identifying any further burials or anomalies in the site in the ownership of Galway Co Council.

Local historian Catherine Corless, whose research led to the eventual confirmation of “significant human remains” being discovered at the memorial site, has previously stated that she believes burials took place elsewhere on the grounds and that the playground site needs to be investigated.

The latest report has confirmed that while the coroner for North Galway has opened a file regarding the human remains found, an active investigation is not being conducted at this time.

The report says that further scientific analysis is needed, both at the site and on the human remains that have been previously discovered. Along with the geophysical survey, there’s a proposal to undertake sample DNA analysis to establish if it is possible to acquire such data from a selection of the remains previously discovered.

An overview of possible options for what could happen next in relation to the burial site and surrounding land has been presented in the preliminary report to Minister for Children Katherine Zappone. A full technical report, examining these options in greater detail, is due to be completed by the end of September.

The options put forward range from the least intrusive method to the most intrusive method. The least intrusive option would mean no further investigative work at the site once the survey and DNA testing results have been considered. The site would be returned to being managed as a site of memorial.

The most intrusive option, option 4, would require the full forensic investigation and archaeological excavation of all available ground formerly occupied by the Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, “in order to physically and practically exhaust all potential for further relevant and preserved human remains”.

Just 0.4 hectares of the original site remains as open ground and 85% of the original site has had houses, private gardens, sheds and public roadways built on it.

Between now and the end of September each option will be further examined in terms of timelines, costs and feasibility.

Last week 100 people took part in an initial consultation process in Dublin organised by Minister Zappone.

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