'Deeply saddened' Bon Secours sisters welcome Tuam mother-and-baby investigation

The Sisters of Bon Secours have said they are shocked and deeply saddened by the discovery of hundreds of dead babies in a septic tank on the grounds of a former mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway.

The home was in operation from 1925 to 1961.

In a statement issued this evening, the sisters welcomed the recent Government announcement to initiate an investigation in an effort to establish the full truth of what happened.

The statement reads: "In 1961 the Home was closed. All records were returned to the local authority, and would now be within the Health Service Executive, Co Galway.

"The Bon Secours Sisters are committed to engaging with Catherine Corless, the Graveyard Committee and the local residents as constructively as they can on the graves initiative connected with the site.

"The Sisters welcome the recent Government announcement to initiate an investigation, in an effort to establish the full truth of what happened."

The Children's Minister Charlie Flanagan told the Dáil this evening that work is currently underway to assess the best way for the State to respond to the discovery of this mass grave.

Mr Flanagan said the report would be back before the end of the month, and that it would not be limited to Tuam.

"We will properly review all issues (and) will not confine this review to Tuam," he said.

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Dublin urged those responsible for running mother and baby homes to fully cooperate with the inquiry into mass graves.

In a statement Dr Diarmuid Martin's also asked anyone with information about burial sites to bring forward that information to the authorities.

** A freephone telephone counselling service is opening around now to help anyone affected by the discovery of the mass baby grave in Tuam.

It is being operated by Connect, a HSE funded phone counselling service and is available on 1800 477 477.

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