The Pope is to study a report on Tuam

The Children's Minister has written to the Pope asking the Catholic Church to take responsibility for the role it played in Mother and Baby Homes.

Katherine Zappone has outlined the details of the Tuam Baby case - and asked that the Catholic church share costs and reparation for what happened there.

On returning from his visit here, Pope Francis confirmed that he received the memo, but has yet to study it.

Pope Francis shakes hands with Children's Minister Katherine Zappone at Aras an Uachtarain, along with President Michael D Higgins and wife Sabina | Image: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/PA Images

Minister Zappone says she's confident that action will be taken.

She says she believes the Pope knew what she was talking about when she mentioned Tuam.

"A clear sense of recognition crossed his face.

"I have written him a letter - it outlines the background of Tuam - again - what was found there, that we also have a Commission of Investigation.

"At the end of the letter, though, I said again I believe though that the church ought to share the costs and share reparation for what happened there - and that I expect that that will happen".

"I'm feeling very hopeful that the church will take a key role in responding to this aspect of the shameful chapter that we're all speaking about in Irish history".

People gather to protest at the site of the former Tuam home for unmarried mothers in Galway, where a mass grave of around 800 babies has recently been uncovered | Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

In her letter, Minister Zappone wrote: "The Commission's excavations have revealed that human remains are visible in a series of chambers that may have formed part of sewage treatment works for the Home.

"The Commission believes that there are a significant number of children's remains there.

"It recovered some juvenile remains for detailed forensic analysis. From this analysis, it has determined that the remains are between 35 foetal weeks and two to three years of age.

"From carbon dating it has correlated the age of these samples with the time period during which the home was in operation - between 1925 and 1961."

"There were suspicions about burials of this kind in Tuam for some time.. However, it is fair to say that the confirmation received from the Commission of Investigation caused many people to demand that dignity and respect be afforded to the memory of the children who lived their short lives in this Home.

Minister Zappone's letter to Pope Francis

"We also owe it to the families of these children to now do the right thing by their loved ones."

"There was little compassion shown to children and their mothers in this home.

"We cannot change what happened to them. For the little ones whose remains are in a sewage system, we owe them dignity in death. For their mothers, siblings and families we need to give them some peace.

"It is my strong conviction that given the role of the Church in this shameful chapter of recent Irish history it must play a practical role in addressing the hurt and damage.

"I believe that the church should contribute substantially to the cost of whatever option is decided by the Government.

"This should be done willingly, unconditionally and quickly. Nothing less will demonstrate remorse."