‘Technology is there to take the DNA of Tuam babies’
NEW technology means taking DNA from the remains of hundreds of babies buried in Tuam is possible, a leading genetics professor has said.
A Government report last year had indicated that it wouldn’t be possible to identify the remains of babies buried at the Mother and Babies Home in Co Galway. But Trinity College professor Aoife McLysaght has said that this claim was later corrected.
Ms McLysaght yesterday spoke at an event with Galway historian Catherine Corless – who was awarded an honorary degree by the university yesterday. Ms Corless was commended for uncovering the scandal of 796 children being buried in a mass grave at the home in Tuam.
“The original report was incorrect regarding the DNA, it said that it wasn’t possible basically to take DNA from the remains,” Ms McLysaght said.
“It is possible, we have the technology to take DNA from remains such as these.”
The professor added that family members would then be needed for DNA sampling in order to identify the babies.
Addressing the scandal during a 90-minute conversation in the Edmund Burke Theatre, Ms Corless said she was astounded at what she discovered after years of research, having initially thought she was just going to do a “little essay”.
She said that during her research “the Church turned its back completely on me”.
Ms Corless added that she would like to see proper burials for the remains of exhumed babies “that they were utterly and totally denied”.
She said that she would “like to see a little white coffin for all these children” and added they were neglected when ill, saying that: “I really believe they were just let die.”
On two occasions during her talk at Trinity, Ms Corless received standing ovations from the crowd in attendance.
‘I would like to see a little white coffin for all these children’
Mass grave: Historian Catherine Corless with the list of children’s names at the Tuam Mother and Babies Home site.