The Irish government says it is considering holding an inquiry after the remains of 796 children were found in a concrete septic tank at a former home for unmarried mothers run by the Catholic Church.
The institution in Tuam in County Galway was run by the Sisters of the Bon Secours between 1925 and 1961.
The dead children were aged between two days and nine years old. Death records show that most died of malnutrition or disease.
The Irish Minister for Children, Charlie Flanagan, said: “What government is doing here is establishing the facts so that we can get to the bottom of this harrowing issue. It’s a matter of great public disquiet and upset, not only for the families involved but for local communities. What we will have is a report to government before the end of this month and then advance matters further.”
The Tuam home was one of many homes in Ireland where around 35,000 unmarried pregnant women, including rape victims, were sent.
They were regarded as fallen women and their children were denied baptism and segregated at school.