Illegal adoption report recommendations must be implemented

14 March 2022

Speaking following the publication of a report of the Ombudsman for Children, Dr. Conor O’Mahony, on illegal adoption in Ireland, Labour Spokesperson for Children Ivana Bacik TD has called on the Government to implement its recommendations quickly.

Deputy Bacik said:

“The publication of today’s report should act as impetus for long-overdue progress in Ireland. In addition to Dr. O’Mahony, I commend Aoife Hegarty and the RTÉ Investigates team, and particularly those brave individuals who told the stories of their discovery that they had in fact been adopted, and that their birth certificates or other documents had been falsified. They deserve credit as their advocacy is a significant reason why this issue has not fallen off the agenda. Wednesday’s RTÉ Investigates programme will be essential viewing for legislators and I urge all TDs and Senators to tune in.

“Those who featured on the RTÉ Investigates programme, Who Am I? in 2021 expressed their horror at these revelations and that they still do not have access to original documents. Given the age profile of some of the adopted people affected, as well as the age profile of some of their natural relatives, it is of vital importance that this issue receives the urgent attention it deserves.

“In 2019, the Labour Party published legislation to address the problem of falsified birth and adoption certificates in the wake of revelations from Tusla that files from St. Patrick’s Guild exposed 126 cases of illegal registrations of birth or adoption. A shocking revelation, we know that 126 cases is probably a conservative estimate of the true scale of the problem.

“Since the publication of Labour’s 2019 Bill, there has been no similar Government legislation brought forward. Furthermore, last week, while debating amendments to the Birth Information and Tracing Bill 2022, I was disappointed that the Minister for Children would not accept my amendments to address concerns of those who were illegally adopted. The Children’s Ombudsman is rightly critical of the speed at which successive Governments have responded to this.

“I hope that today’s report will be a catalyst for progress for all those who suffered injustice as a result of unscrupulous adoption practices. I echo the Children’s Ombudsman for an inquiry and for there to be adequate resources provided to all those affected, and for those who suspect that they may have been affected.”

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