Government approved the forensic excavation back in October. 

Excavations of a site that was previously used as a mother-and-baby home in the last century will begin in the second half of 2019, the Taoiseach has revealed. 

The Tuam mother and baby home – which first made news in 2004 when local historian Catherine Corless discovered the remains of hundreds of infants and children buried at the site – operated from 1925 to 1961 and was run by the Bon Secours Sisters.

An Taoiseach has revealed he expects the excavation will take place later in 2019.

"We anticipate there'll be excavations in Tuam in the latter half of 2019, because we have to pass legislation in the Oireachtas giving us, the Government, the power to do the excavations," Varadkar said.

"Because, for lots of reasons, we don't have the power to do that. We'll have to pass that legislation in the new year, and we'd envisage carrying out the first excavations in the second half of 2019.

"In the meantime, we can start appointing the experts and the ground team who'll be doing the actual work."

Varadkar continued by saying that he does not believe an excavation of this enormity has been carried out in Ireland before but emphasised that his Government believes it is the "right thing to do".

"We've never really done this before in Ireland, on this scale, so we've a lot to set up, [and] a lot to learn before we do it," he said.

"We're not entirely sure what we're getting into, but as a Government, we're convinced this is the right thing to do, to remove the remains and to give those children a proper, decent burial they didn't get."

A number of procedures must first be taken before digging begins. Firstly, legislation must be passed by the Oireachtas to give the Government the power to carry out such excavations.

The families of the deceased infants must then be contacted.