The excavation of the Tuam mass grave containing the remains of hundreds of children and infants will begin in the second half of the new year.
The grave at the former mother and baby home is estimated to contain the remains of 796 children aged 35 fetal weeks to three years, The Irish Post reports.
The Irish government approved the forensic excavation of the site in October.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar revealed he expects an excavation to take place in the second part of the year.
"We anticipate that there'll be excavations in Tuam in the latter half of 2019, because we have to pass legislation in the Oireachtas giving us, the Government, the power to do the excavations," said the Irish leader, according to RTÉ.
"Because, for lots of reasons, we don't have the power to do that.
"So we'll have to pass that legislation in the New Year, and we'd envisage carrying out the first excavations in the second half of 2019.
"In the meantime though, we can start appointing the experts and the ground team who'll be doing the actual work."
He added: “We've never really done this before in Ireland, on this scale, so we've a lot to set up, [and] a lot to learn before we do it.”
"We're not entirely sure what we're getting into, but as a Government we're convinced this is the right thing to do, to remove the remains and to give those children a proper decent burial they didn't get,” he said.
The Tuam, Co Galway, home for unmarried mothers and their children operated from 1925 to 1961 and was run by the Bon Secours Sisters.
Five years ago, Catherine Corless, a local historian, discovered records showing that 796 children had died at the home, but burial records could not be found, sparking suspicion of a mass grave at the site.
“Significant quantities” of human remains were discovered at the site in 2016 and 2017.
There has been a long running campaign for an excavation of the Tuam site to recover the human remains.