THE EXCAVATION of a mass grave in Tuam, Co. Galway that contains the remains of hundreds of young children is to begin in 2019.
The grave at the site of the former mother and baby home is estimated to contain the remains of 796 children.
It is believed the infants were aged from 35 foetal weeks to three years.
The excavation is due to commence in the latter half of 2019, once legislation has been passed to allow the government to carry out the operation.
“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,” said the Taoiseach, according to RTÉ News.
“In the meantime though, we can start appointing the experts and the ground team who’ll be doing the actual work.”
The Tuam home was in operation from 1925 to 1961 and was run by Sisters of the Bon Secours.
Five years ago, local historian Catherine Corless discovered official records showing that 796 infants and children had died at the home.
However the absence of burial records sparked fears of a mass grave at the site.
Samples from test evacuations commissioned by the Mother and Baby Home Commission of Investigation revealed the site contained “significant quantities of human remains”.
The latest news comes one year after the Tuam Home Survivors Network called for “a complete excavation of the Tuam site to ensure the recovery of all human remains contained there”.