COMMENT: Complex issue was bound to need refining

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NO-ONE should ever have to go through again what we have had to suffer.

The reaction of those grieving parents who found themselves caught up in the Mortonhall baby ashes scandal was very different one from the other. Some felt their loss, and the discovery of what subsequently happened to their child’s remains, so personal and painful that it was impossible to express their feelings.

Others felt it helped to talk, while others still felt driven to do so publicly, however hard that was to do, in order to get answers. Some were angry and wanted justice, many were simply distraught, and some wanted to move on and forget.

What united them all, above and beyond the terrible experience they went through, was a desire for us all to learn from the mistakes of the past. Everyone wanted to know that no one else would have to go through the same shocking experience again.

What was comforting amid the pain when this newspaper exposed the practices that had been going on for many years at Mortonhall and other crematoriums was the belief that it was coming to an end.

When Dame Elish Angiolini’s inquiry confirmed that crematorium managers “knew that there were ashes after baby cremations but refused to tell parents”, and that baby ashes were “mixed in with the next adult cremation”, there was relief.

Surely now, as Dame Elish recommended widespread reform including changes to the law, an end would finally be put to these barbaric practices.

Today’s warning from MSPs that the changes in the law proposed to ensure this are not fit for purpose will come as a blow to everyone involved.

There is no need for alarm though. This is a complex and sensitive subject and it should not be surprising that the first attempt to deal with all the issues has not been a complete success.

We have every reason to believe that the alarm has been raised in good time and these important details will be properly addressed.