The Irish government has ordered the police to report on whatever information it has on the deaths of almost 800 infants at a former home for unmarried mothers.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny has also called on the Minister for Children Charlie Flanagan to take action over the scandal at Tuam in County Galway.
“I have asked Minister Flanagan to draw together a number of senior officials from across the departments until we see what the scale is, what is involved here, and to see if this is isolated or if there are others around the country that need to be looked at,” Kenny said.
The remains of the children who died between 1925 and 1961 were found at the site of a home run by nuns, meaning more questions for Ireland’s once powerful Roman Catholic Church, already rocked by a series of scandals over the abuse and neglect of children.
The Church ran many of Ireland’s social services in the 20th century, including mother-and-baby homes where tens of thousands of unwed pregnant women, including rape victims, were sent to give birth.
Unmarried mothers and their children were seen as a stain on Ireland’s image as a devout Catholic nation. They were also a problem for some of the fathers, particularly powerful figures such as priests and wealthy, married men.
The bodies were found in a mass grave in the 1970s but had been thought to date from the famine in the 1850s.