Comment: Ashes scandal must never happen again

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EVER since the Evening News first revealed the Mortonhall baby ashes scandal, one thing has been clear – legal changes were needed to ensure there could never be a repeat.

Today we have that assurance from the Scottish Government and the changes being made in the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Bill are designed to ensure exactly that.

Indeed it has been hailed as an important step forward in “bringing the governance of burials and cremations in this country into the 21st century”.

The tragedy of course is that it took the unimaginable and unnecessary pain of so many grieving families to bring this about.

Scandal is far too weak a word to describe the practices at Mortonhall where staff secretly buried the ashes of babies for decades without their parents’ knowledge.

It is a pain with which those families must live every day and which is surely heightened with every new development, debate, and government announcement.

Many questions still remain to be answered even after two separate inquiries, and the search for answers looks certain to continue through the courts.

The legislative move from the Scottish Government is, however, welcome and an important chapter in this tragic story.

The knowledge that no other families will ever be denied the closure of laying their child to rest will be of comfort to some.

For others it will simply reinforce their determination to establish the full truth.

Today our thoughts are once again with all those families, some of whom will never know the last resting place of their child.

Their bravery throughout is the reason why the Scottish Government can now make these vital changes to the law.

It is they who have ensured the Mortonhall baby ashes scandal can never happen again.