The Galway woman who revealed the Tuam Mother and Baby Home scandal believes that the Catholic Church should pay for the exhumation.
Tuam historian Catherine Corless has stated that the Bon Secours Catholic order should pay for the exhumation of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home site.
On Tuesday, Ireland's Minister for Children Katherine Zappone announced that the unidentified remains of an estimated 796 children buried in a mass grave by the Catholic Church at a Mother and Baby Home will be exhumed.
The mass grave is part of the Catholic-run Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co Galway, which is no longer operational having shuttered in 1961 after nearly 40 years.
Having broken the story of the Tuam Babies in 2014, and written and produced stories about children's rights since 2001, today is such a great day for children's rights, justice and the rights of the families of the Tuam Babies. Thoughts with families #TuamBabies #MyNameisBridget pic.twitter.com/hooJWlYoUL— MyNameIsBridget (@mynamesisbridge) October 23, 2018
The order has so far offered to pay $2.8 million (€2.5 million) toward the exhumation, a figure that Corless described as “a meager offering” given that the order “has private hospitals all over the place.”
“The least they can do to help the healing is cover the cost of the whole thing. The fact that the Bon Secours sisters are paying out shows they feel responsible,” she said on RTÉ Morning Ireland.
“The correct thing is being done, these babies are being given dignity. The important message to the survivors is that the Government care enough to do this.”
The total cost of the exhumation is believed to range between $6.8 and $14.8 million (€6 million and €13 million). Minister Zappone stressed the nuns’ donation was not a settlement and not an indemnity of any type.
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, @KZapponeTD has confirmed the Government’s approval of her recommendation for the forensic excavation of the available site of the former Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co Galway. #TuamBabies pic.twitter.com/n8FWOgMFcc— MerrionStreet.ie (@merrionstreet) October 23, 2018
The scandal of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home was revealed in 2014 when amateur historian Catherine Corless reported on nearly 800 death certificates from the Home, but no burial records.
The following year, the Irish government launched a public inquiry, The Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation. In March 2017, testing at the Tuam site confirmed “significant quantities” of human remains were found in at least 17 underground chambers.