Minister Zappone publishes the Consultation Report on the Options and Appropriate Courses of Action available to Government
in relation to the site of the former Mother & Baby Home, Tuam, Co. Galway
Friday 6th July, 2018
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone, has today (06/07/2018) published the report of the public consultation process on the options and appropriate courses of action available to Government in relation to the site of the former Mother and Baby Home at Tuam, Co. Galway.
In publishing the report the Minister said:
“Subsequent to the publication of the Expert Technical Group’s (ETG) Report on the Tuam site last December, I asked Galway County Council to facilitate an independent public consultation process in relation to the five possible options presented in their report. The structured consultation process provided a valuable opportunity for the public to more fully engage with this complex technical document and to express their views on the identified options. The report clearly demonstrates the range of expectations, preference and concerns among various stakeholders and the wider community. It is important that we recognise and respect this divergence of sincerely held views”.
Galway County Council received 799 written submissions and hosted a number of facilitated meetings with stakeholders. This high level of engagement is an endorsement of the value and necessity of this process as a key element in our deliberative process. An analysis of the submissions to the consultation found that two options that were clearly favoured by those who made submissions.
Firstly, local residents largely advocated for memorialisation and non-disturbance of the remains. Former residents of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home, along with relatives of former residents, expressed a preference for full forensic excavation of the site along with DNA analysis.
Preferences from members of the general public were almost equally divided between memorialisation alone and some form of forensic excavation and DNA analysis, with the majority in the latter group favouring the most extensive intervention.
Minister Zappone expressed her appreciation for those who contributed to the process: “I would like to thank everyone who participated in the consultation process. I would like to thank Galway County Council and Ms. Barbra Walshe and Ms. Catherine O’Connell for their professional facilitation of the consultation events in Dublin and Galway. I also want to thank the members of the Expert Technical Group for their contribution to these events. I welcome the respect and concern expressed by all participants for the dignity of the deceased who are interred at the site. This report is an important input into the Government’s deliberations on the future of the Tuam site.”
Following the submission of this report, the Inter-Departmental Group (IDG) have met to discuss the five options presented by the ETG’s report and to co-ordinate the State’s response in relation to the Tuam site. A number of complex legal, technical and operational issues identified by the IDG require further consideration before the Minister will be in a position to bring a comprehensive proposal to Government on the future of the site. The Minister wants to see this work concluded as quickly as practicable.
Consultation on the Options and Appropriate Courses of Action available to Government in relation to the site ofthe former Mother & Baby Home, Tuam, Co. Galway
Note to Editors
• Following the discovery of infant remains in subsurface chambers on the site of the former Mother and Baby Home, Tuam, Co. Galway, the Minister commissioned an Expert Technical Group (ETG) to provide technical advice on international best practice as to the appropriate action to take in responding to this tragic discovery.
• The Minister asked Galway County Council to facilitate an independent public consultation process in relation to the five options presented by the ETG in their report on the Tuam site.
• Galway County Council engaged two independent facilitators, Barbara Walshe and Catherine O’ Connell to facilitate and report on the consultation process, and oral and written submissions.
• An analysis of the submissions to the consultation found that there were two options that were clearly favoured, memorialisation alone (Option 1) by local residents and complete forensic excavation of the site with DNA analysis (Option 5) by Former residents of the Mother and Baby Home and their relatives.
• There was a consensus that memorialisation should accompany any other course of action which might be implemented.
• Preferences from members of the general public were almost equally divided between memorialisation alone and one of the options involving forensic excavation and DNA analysis, with the majority in the latter group favouring the most extensive intervention.
• All participants expressed care and concern for the dignity and respect of the deceased found there.
• Following the submission of this report, the Inter-Departmental Group (IDG) met to discuss the five options presented by the ETG’s report and to co-ordinate action in relation to the Tuam site. The discussions included consideration of the findings of the consultation process.
• This is a factual report. It does not make any recommendations or endorse any course of action. There has been no decision made as yet on the future of the site.
• The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes investigated the site as part of their work. They recently completed works to re-instate the area which they had been investigating. These works are separate to the work may be commenced once a decision is made on the future of the site.
• The Commission of Investigation is investigating the question of burials on the site and will include the results in their findings when it delivers its reports