Test excavation has begun at a burial ground at Sean Ross Abbey outside Roscrea in Co Tipperary to try to establish what remains are buried there.

The excavation work is being carried out at the direction of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation into 18 such homes across the country.

It is the second physical dig to begin as part of that work.

The commission began its investigation in 2015 after the discovery of human remains at the former mother-and-baby home in Tuam, Co Galway.

Its job is to provide a full account of what happened at these homes between 1922-1998 and report back to Government.

The commission said the excavation at Sean Ross Abbey is being led by a forensic archaeologist and is broadly similar to the excavation carried out in Tuam.

Up to 269 children are to believed to have been buried at a children's burial plot at Sean Ross Abbey.

A physical survey of the grounds there in January did not give enough adequate information to the commission, which has decided a more detailed dig is warranted.

The purpose of the dig is to establish what remains are present, the age ranges and the years they died.

The dig, which began on Monday, is expected to take up to four weeks.

The excavation work has been welcomed by those who campaigned on behalf of people who were born and who died at the home.

Theresa Collins, who was born in Sean Ross, said it was important to provide answers to the past, particularly for those who died there and who no longer have any voice.