Burton calls for implementation of adoption tracing legislation

29 May 2018

Reacting to the breaking news of the incorrect registration of adoptions of at least 126 children between 1946 and 1969, Labour TD Joan Burton has called for the urgent implementation of adoption tracing legislation.

Deputy Burton said:

“The news today is very serious and needs urgent attention. As someone who was adopted, I am deeply concerned that this information is only coming to light now, and that dozens of people are not aware of the true circumstances of their birth.

“Today’s story confirms that Ireland needs as a matter of urgency the implementation of adoption tracing legislation, so adult adoptees in Ireland can access their own records in relation to their birth families. The Government has been stalling on this for two years and is proposing to delay the legislation even further.

“From all of the revelations of recent decades in respect of Mother and Baby Homes, Magdalene Laundries and other institutions including adoption societies, we know that there is a great deal of hidden information that rightfully belongs to adopted people in terms of their birth parents and families.

“In the period from the introduction of adoption legislation in the early 50’s up to the 1980s, when the numbers of adoptions reduced dramatically, over 40,000 people were adopted

“In one of the last denials of personal freedoms in Ireland, many adopted people are still unable to access their own files, as the people who were adopted from the 1950s onwards are now at least in their 30s and 40s, with many being significantly older. It is difficult to understand why this right, which is recognised in the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia for close to half a century, should be denied in Ireland.

“As an adopted person, I would encourage the Government, particularly in the context of recent referendums, to reconsider their approach to adoption information rights and to lift what is one of the last veils of secrecy; it sometimes seems that adult adopted people, will be the last people to get full, personal rights in this country.”

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