The Irish government has ordered a nationwide investigation into homes for unmarried mothers run by the Catholic Church.
It follows the discovery of an unmarked grave at a convent-run home in County Galway, which contained the remains of hundreds of babies.
Ireland’s Minister for Children, Charlie Flanagan TD said the investigation would be the first of its kind:
“It was felt in the circumstances was (the) most appropriate having regard to the fact that such a commission will have a full range of statutory powers in relation to documents, papers, witnesses, co-operation. And we feel that it is appropriate that it would be set up at the earliest opportunity”.
Dublin has come under increasing pressure to examine the practices at the institutions, and their high mortality rates since the discovery of the grave.
As recently as the 1960s unmarried women and girls were often forced to give up their babies for adoption.
Either that or the children were said to have been treated as an inferior sub-species by the Church.
Today’s inquiry will also look into adoption procedures, burial practices and the reported testing of medicine on children at the homes.