The Catholic Archbishop of Tuam said he is horrified by the confirmation that significant quantities of human remains were buried on the site of a former mother and baby home in the town.

On Friday, the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation confirmed the discovery at the site in Tuam.

Archbishop Michael Neary said he had been greatly shocked to learn of the scale of the practice during the time which the Bon Secours ran the mother and baby home in Tuam. 

In a homily at mass today, he described the news as a body blow. 

He said the findings from the Commission of Investigation were a matter of huge public concern. He said his priority was to work with the families of those who died in the home to ensure the remains were given "dignified re-interment" in consecrated ground in the town. 

He told the congregation at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Tuam that the "pain and brokenness" endured by vulnerable young women in the mother and baby home was impossible to comprehend.

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He said the suffering they and their children had endured was at the forefront of his mind and his prayers. 

Dr Neary said the archdiocese had no involvement in the running of the mother and baby home in Tuam and had no information regarding the manner in which remains were interred.

However, he said any material he had that was "even remotely related" to the Commission of Investigation had been provided to the inquiry.

Describing the Commission's work as a "necessary step on the path to truth", Archbishop Neary said he would assist the investigation in every way possible until its final report was published. 

Earlier, a senior Government minister said garda involvement in the investigation cannot be ruled out.

Speaking on RTÉ's Marian Finucane Show, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney said there was also significant responsibility on the State.

"When you look at the way in which children's bodies were discarded in the way that they were, 17 of the 20 chambers, had remains in them, it's hard to see that there wouldn't be garda involvement in this case.

"I mean people shouldn't only talk here about the Bon Secours Sisters, although obviously they have questions to answer, but this was a site that was owned by the State and it's a site that's still owned by Galway County Council, so there's a significant responsibility on the State here, as well as the Bon Secours Sisters", he said.