Catholic leader seeks Irish state probe into treatment of babies in homes for unwed mothers

A senior Catholic Church figure says Ireland's government should establish a fact-finding probe into the church's mistreatment and burial of babies that died in nun-operated homes for unmarried mothers.

Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin made his appeal Sunday following revelations that hundreds of children who died inside a former church residence for children born out of wedlock were buried in unmarked graves at the site.

A researcher found records showing that 796 children, mostly infants, died at the home in Tuam, County Galway, from its 1925 opening to its 1962 closure. Residents suspect they were interred in a nearby field, including in a disused septic tank.

Martin said Ireland should investigate why so many children died in several long-closed homes for unwed mothers and how they were buried.