The Tuam Home Survivors Network has condemned the public consultation report on the former Mother and Baby Home as a “worthless” and “crudely designed” attempt to delay taking any action.
The support group have said that the entire public consultation process ordered by Children’s Minister Katerine Zappone was an attempt to further a “myth” that she has authority over the mass grave at the site of the former Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home.
Earlier this week Minister Zappone released a report on the public consultation conducted by Galway County Council on what to do with the site of the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home.
After 799 written submissions and a number of meetings with stakeholders, the report found that opinion was divided between people who live in the area and relatives of former residents.
Tuam residents would prefer a memorial to be put up, but for the site to be left otherwise undisturbed.
Survivors and relatives of former residents want a full forensic excavation of the hundreds of remains buried on the site and for DNA analysis to be carried out.
In a response to the report released by Minister Zappone, the Tuam Home Survivors Network say it is not up to her or the government to choose how the site and remains buried there should be treated.
“The only person or body which has jurisdiction over the site of the Tuam mass grave is the Coroner for North Galway, Dr Val Costello.”
“The fact that Dr Costello has to date failed in his obligation to convene an Inquest into the deaths of 796 children at the former Home, does not confer any powers on the Minister or Government to deal with the issue.”
The group insists it’s up to the Attorney General to appoint another coroner to conduct an inquest into the deaths of all those children.
In holding a vote on how the site should be treated, the Tuam Home Survivors Network say that Minister Zappone is subverting the wishes of survivors and their relatives, and brushing aside the obligations of the state.
“To be clear, Tuam is a mass grave of almost 800 children. The only moral and legal way to deal with that reality is for an Inquest to be convened and a full excavation ordered,” the response reads.
“To allow as far as forensic science will permit, the causes of death in those children to be established. The Minister’s actions to date have done nothing but distract from and obstruct that process.”
There are a number of investigative processes underway regarding the site of the Mother and Baby Home. The Inter-Departmental Group in government met to discuss the public consultation report after its release, and is considering options.
The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes also studied the Tuam site, and will include any recommendations on how to treat it when its report is released