24 Apr Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes: Fifth Interim Report
Fifth Interim Report from the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.
The Fifth Interim Report examines the burial arrangements in the
institutions under investigation by the Commission. The report also
examines the transfer of remains to educational institutions for the
purpose of anatomical examination. Minister Zappone brought the report to
Government yesterday (16 April 2019), securing approval for its
publication. The report’s contents have been noted by Government and will
be sent to the relevant agencies for further consideration.
Responding to the report the Minister said “This is a significant piece of
work from the Commission that addresses important issues relating to the
burial arrangements at these institutions. The Commission is collating a
huge amount of material and examining the matters before it in a way never
before possible. This report reflects the sheer depth and complexity of the
work the Commission is undertaking. I know that that many former residents
and their family members have been patiently awaiting this report and
believe that it will assist in bringing clarity to this matter”.
The Commission has stated that it will include an analysis of the causes of
deaths and the registration of deaths in its final report which is due by
The Commission has submitted this interim report to assist Government in
implementing its agreed course of action to manage the juvenile remains
interred at the site at Tuam, Co Galway. It is an interim report, compiled
on the basis of information available at this time. It includes a series of
detailed and complex technical reports which were sourced by the Commission
from relevant experts to inform its investigations into the site of the
The report makes a number of findings in relation to the burials at Tuam.
The Commission states that it is clear that many of the children who died
in the Tuam Home are buried in the underground chambers. The report states
that these chambers were not a recognised burial ground or purpose built
burial chamber and that it did not provide for the dignified interment of
The Commission concludes that there is little basis for the theory that
rather than having died, the children were ‘sold’ to America.
The report makes no specific recommendations but calls on anyone who may
have information relating to the Tuam site to come forward and speak with
them. On this point Minister Zappone stated “I would like to endorse this
request by the Commission and would strongly encourage anyone with any
information relating to the Commission’s terms of reference contact them
The report also examines the burial practices in a number of other
institutions including Bessborough, Bethany Home, Castlepollard and Sean
Ross Abbey. In the case of Bessborough, the Commission found no physical
or documentary evidence of systematic burials within the grounds, but
considers that it is highly likely that burials took place there. The
Commission did not consider it feasible to excavate the full 60 acres
involved, let alone the rest of the 200-acre estate on which the there has
been extensive building work since the institution closed.
In Sean Ross Abbey there is a designated child burial ground in the grounds
of the institution. The Commission has undertaken a geophysical study and
subsequently a test excavation of the site and the results of this
excavation are currently being examined. The Commission will report on this
in their final report.
This report will take some time to fully absorb but undoubtedly advances
our understanding of the burial practices at these institutions.
Minister Zappone stated that “The publication of this report is a
significant milestone in the work of this Commission. I am once again
reassured that the Commission will not shy away from asking the necessary
questions without fear or favour and will shine a light on this dark period
in our history