07/07/2018 - The following press release was published on the website of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Please click here for the response from the Tuam Home Survivors Network.
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.