‘Tech­nol­ogy is there to take the DNA of Tuam ba­bies’

Irish Independent - - News - Ryan Nu­gent

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’

PHOTO: ANDY NEW­MAN

Mass grave: His­to­rian Catherine Cor­less with the list of chil­dren’s names at the Tuam Mother and Ba­bies Home site.

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