The Catholic Church should make reparations for what happened at mother and baby homes in the Republic of Ireland, a minister has said.

The comment was made by Katherine Zappone to Pope Francis during his two-day visit to Ireland.

Nearly 800 children died at a former mother and baby home in Tuam, County Galway, between 1925 and 1961.

Significant quantities of human remains were subsequently found in there, some in a septic tank.

“I hope the Church will make reparation for its part in this shameful chapter,” the Irish Children’s Minister told the Pope.

The home was run by the Bon Secours order of nuns.

The Catholic Bishop of Derry, meanwhile, has called for the site in Tuam to be excavated.

At the weekend, Ms Zappone met Pope Francis at President Michael D Higgins’s official residence, Áras an Uachtaráin.

Ms Zappone and the Pope were overheard speaking in Italian about what happened at state-funded, Church-run mother and baby homes, including the one at Tuam.

She told RTÉ’s Today with Miriam what she said to him.

“Pope Francis, I am responsible for the Tuam mother and baby home,” she said.

“Children’s remains were found in a sewage system there.

“It is important and I will write to you in detail.”