Tag Archives: DNA

This morning.

Following a call last week by the Tuam Survivors’ Network, The Terms of Reference and timeline have been set for an examination of legal options regarding DNA sampling in connection with the former Mother and Baby Home at Tuam.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs KatherineZappone said:

“These issues will ultimately  be addressed within the bespoke legislation that is currently being scoped by my Department.

However, I am very sympathetic to the concerns of survivors that their ages and health profiles introduce an element of urgency.

Accordingly, I have asked Dr. Geoffrey Shannon to consider what may be possible within the current legislative  framework, with particular reference to:

The collection of biological samples for comparison purposes

The extent to which any relevant family rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights might apply; and how best to ensure that the rights of those who wish to give biological samples could be safeguarded in respect of sensitive personal data and informed consent.

Dr Shannon will consult with my officials in the course of his work and provide a report to me within  8 weeks.”

Terms set for examination of DNA options at Tuam Mother and Baby Home Minister Zappone sympathetic to request from survivors network (Department of Children)

Report into legal issues over Tuam DNA samples requested for eight weeks’ time (RTÉ)

Previously:  Tuam And DNA


The burial plot at the former mother and baby home at Bessborough in Cork has been examined by the Commission of Investigation into 18 such institutions.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone said the probe at Bessborough involves “initial testing”.

She said she understood that the commission has examined the burial plot at Bessborough but has not conducted a geophysical examination of the site.

Burial plot at Bessborough Mother and Baby Home examined by Commission of Investigation (RTÉ)

Previously: Burials As Late As 1990

This morning.

The Tuam Home Survivors’ Network has urged the Government to begin collecting DNA samples from the mass grave immediately.

In December, it was announced that excavation of the site would begin at the end of 2019.

Network spokesperson Breeda Murphy writes:

This work should proceed in a way that will be of greatest benefit to the greatest number of survivors, victims and families.

For this to be achieved, as much information as possible should be obtained from each sample of human remains. The quantifying of the DNA extracted is the paramount task to be accomplished.

Based on this quantity, a decision can then be made on the best method to use to achieve best outcome:

High yield of DNA – Standard Forensic testing using Short Tandem Repeat (STR) analysis to determine relationship to those searching for a family member; if no match is found , move on to DNA Microarray technology using single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis to search genealogy companies. Then perform whole genome sequencing (WGS) for further information on genealogy, medical history, etc.

Low yield of DNA
– Proceed directly to WGS to obtain the greatest amount of information possible.

The methodology of course, should be peer reviewed and/or follow guidelines from other sites for example, World Trade Centre, California fires, ancient sites, etc.

In the event, the quantity is insufficient for current analysis, it should be safely and appropriately stored future analysis when technology advances will present new opportunities for matching.

There is a certain urgency to this process given age profile and health status. R

esults from our ageing and in, some cases, frail membership should be banked to eliminate any delay in returning human remains to identifiable relatives for dignified burial

Tuam Home Survivors’ Network


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At it’s most fundamental, it’s not a migrant crisis, its’ not a refugee crisis – this is first and foremost a human crisis.

The terms ‘migrant’ and ‘refugee’ become weighted with connotations and they have too often have become terms that we use to almost distance ourselves from the humanity of the situation and that is desperation of men, women and children taking a risk-laden journey to try to escape the horrors of terror for survival.

I mean, at it’s very most fundamental, it’s about survival. And in our own DNA we understand that because we have a history, be it in the mid-19th century, but we are actually the survivors of that and it’s in our DNA and it’s part of the reason why I think we understand it more than most.

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy speaking this afternoon.

Previously: ‘A Beautiful Thing To Do’