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Catholic Church under fire over records showing 796 children buried at defunct Irish orphanage

The Catholic Church in Ireland is facing fresh accusations of child neglect after a researcher found records for 796 young children believed to be buried in a mass grave beside a former orphanage for the children of unwed mothers.

The researcher, Catherine Corless, says her discovery of child death records at the Catholic nun-run home in Tuam, County Galway, suggests that a disused septic tank filled with bones is the final resting place for most, if not all, of the children.

Death records found that the 796 children, mostly babies and toddlers, died of disease and illness in the orphanage, which operated from 1926 to 1961.

Locals discovered the bone repository in 1975 but, before Corless' discovery, believed they were mostly victims of Ireland's mid-19th century famine.