Ireland is considering an inquiry into what the Government called a 'deeply disturbing' discovery of an unmarked graveyard at a former home run by the Church where almost 800 children died between 1925-61, reports Reuters/Yahoo7.
Until now, locals believed the bones mainly stemmed from the Great Irish famine of the 1840s when hundreds of thousands perished.
The graveyard was re-discovered by a local historian in County Galway in the former grounds of one of Ireland's 'mother-and-baby homes' run by the Bon Secours order of nuns. Researcher Catherine Corless said the bodies were buried in a sewage tank on the grounds.
She associates the bones with the children of The Home. Corless said public records show that 796 children died there before closure of The Home just over 50 years ago. She told national broadcaster RTE that some of the dead were as young as three months old.
Children's Minister Charlie Flanagan said on Wednesday that consideration was being given to the best means of addressing the 'harrowing details' emerging on burial arrangements for children at the institutions that housed unmarried pregnant women.
'Many of the revelations are deeply disturbing and a shocking reminder of a darker past in Ireland when our children were not cherished as they should have been,' Flanagan said in a statement, adding that a report would be delivered to government by the end of June.
The Church ran many of Ireland's social services in the 20th century, including mother-and-baby homes where tens of thousands of unwed pregnant women, including rape victims, were sent to give birth.
Unmarried mothers and their children were seen as a stain on Ireland's image as a devout, Catholic nation. They were also a problem for some of the fathers, particularly powerful figures such as priests and wealthy, married men.
Photo: The entrance to the site of a mass grave of hundreds of children who died in the former Bons Secours home for unmarried mothers is seen in Tuam, County Galway
Tuam case 'reminder of a darker past in Ireland' (The Irish Times)
800 babies buried in septic tank at Irish home for unmarried mothers (AFP/Yahoo News)