Timeline for exploring legal options for DNA sampling at Tuam Home confirmed

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Galway Daily news Mother and Baby Homes redress scheme

The Terms of Reference and timeline for examining legal options regarding DNA sampling at the former Mother and Baby Home at Tuam have been confirmed.

Dr Geoffrey Shannon is currently looking at the options available under existing laws regarding DNA sampling following calls for samples to be taken immediately.

Dr Shannon is working closely officials in Minister Zappone’s Department and will provide a report to the Minister within 8 weeks.

Minister Cannon explained: “…Dr Geoffrey Shannon has been requested to consider what actions may be possible under existing laws following a call from the Tuam Home Survivors’ Network to Government to begin collecting their DNA samples immediately in light of the age profile and health status of survivors.

“The purpose of collecting samples would be to compare against any DNA profiles which may be generated from the juvenile human remains found at the site and, if possible, to make positive identifications.”

Dr Shannon will consider what may be possible within the current legislative framework, with a particular focus on:

  • the collection of biological samples for comparison purposes;
  • the extent to which any relevant family rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights might apply; and
  • how best to ensure that the rights of those who wish to give biological samples could be safeguarded in respect of sensitive personal data and informed consent.

Minister Cannon added: “I also welcome the fact that Dr Shannon will consult with officials in Minister Zappone`s Department throughout the course of his work and provide a report to the Minister within 8 weeks.”