‘No active investigation being conducted into the Tuam discovery’ – minister
Sligo News File
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has said no active investigation is being carried out by the coroner or the gardai into the site of the burials at the Tuam mother and baby home.
The issue was raised by TD Denis Naughton who asked the minister the reason the coroner has not been called into the Tuam site “and if he will now be called in.”
Responding by way of a written parliamentary reply, the Minister said she understood that the Commission of Investigation first formally notified the coroner for North Galway on 2 March 2017 of its discoveries at the Tuam site.
“Both the coroner and the gardai, she said, “provided any co-operation requested by the Commission during its work.”
She understood, she said, that “there is no active investigation being conducted into the Tuam discovery by the gardai or by the coroner.”
Her statement adds: “The coroner is an independent quasi-judicial and it is a matter for him how to conduct any death investigation in accordance with his statutory functions, on the basis of the information made available to him.
“The Final Report of the Commission does not recommend any particular action on behalf of the Coroner with regard to the Tuam site.
“The Minister for Children, Disability, Equality, Integration and Youth will progress the Certain Institutional Burials (Authorised Interventions) Bill, which will provide for the establishment of a dedicated agency, by Government Order under a sponsoring Minister for a specific site, to undertake where necessary, a forensic standard excavation, exhumation and, where possible, identification of discovered remains, and provide for their respectful reinterment.
“This legislation will support intervention at the Tuam site, and any other site, where intervention is reasonably required based on the manifestly inappropriate nature of the interments.
“This is a bespoke approach to address the very sensitive matter of the discovery of human remains at the Tuam site. The approach will effectively displace the relevant role of the Coroner, by disapplying the exhumation process in section 47 of the Coroners Act 1962. This is the most appropriate means to address the particular needs arising in my view.
“I support the approach proposed by Minister O’Gorman and have assured him of the full co-operation of my department and its agencies in implementing the actions set out in the legislation,” she concluded.