Katherine Zappone says she's committed to giving all the children who died a 'dignified and respectful burial'

The site of the former mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway, is to be fully excavated and forensically examined.

At a Cabinet meeting this morning, the Government decided a full excavation was the best way forward.

A forensic examination will aim to identify the remains of all children buried at the site.

Arrangements for reburial or memorialisation of those children will then be arranged.

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone says she's committed to ensuring all children interred at the site can have a "dignified and respectful burial".

She said: “I understand that this is a hugely important decision for all connected to the site in Tuam, most especially those who believe they may have a loved one buried there and those now living close to the site.

"While we must not underestimate the legal and technical challenges ahead, this comprehensive and scientific approach provides us with the best opportunity to address the many deeply personal questions to which former residents and their families need answers.

"I am also mindful of minimising the level of disruption for those who live in the vicinity of the site."

Dedicated legislation will be needed to allow for the excavation.

The Department of Children added that "every reasonable effort" will be made to locate and recover all remains from the site.