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Irish Examiner- 23rd January 2012 - Conall O' Fatharta

Retrospective information and tracing rights are to be offered in the upcoming Adoption Bill, in a significant U-turn by Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald.
See article - www.examiner.ie

Wicklow People - 28th March 2012 - Myles Buchanan

Reunited after 38 years! www.wicklowpeople.ie A FATHER and daughter have been reunited 38 years after she was snatched out of his care.

(mar 23rd 2012) www.irishecho.com.au - Luke O'Neill

Irish Echo Australia - www.irishecho.com.au

Ireland’s illegal adoptees continue to struggle with the legacy of a shameful time...

Australian Interview/Irish Echo with Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald

During my recent trip to Australia I thought it would be an opportune time to reach out to the many thousands of Irish immigrants that now reside there, some who may be in the same position as myself and thousands of ‘illegal’ adoptees living in limbo without without access to birth files. I was interviewed by the Irish Echo who will shortly publish my story. The Irish Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald who was on an official visit was also interviewed. An extract from the article is below:

Adoption falls under the auspices of Ms Fitzgerald’s newly created ministry. The Irish Echo asked whether she would push to make available files relating to ‘de facto’ or illegal adoptions.“I’ve very strong views on this. I think we have taken far too conservative approach in Ireland to adoption. I worked in London in adoption, maybe fifteen years ago, and there was a more open system of adoption there, the tracing systems were better,” she said.Ireland needed a more modern approach to adoption. “I think we’re a bit punitive on people still. We probably over worried although I totally understand that people who gave children up for adoption and expected privacy, that you can’t suddenly break that dramatically. “But I do think if the right systems were in place more people would be able to find their birth parents and it would be easier for them. It’s been overtly rigid and not tuned in enough to a more modern approach to adoption.”

Asked whether the Irish government should apologise to men and women who cannot access details about their birth parents, the Minister stressed there were equal rights acknowledged there had been ‘injustices’. “There are rights on both side. You might consider it a protracted response but that’s the way you have to do it because it’s a hugely sensitive issue for everybody and can be very emotionally damaging for both sides. “I do think that there have been injustices in this area and the State hasn’t been good enough at opening doors for people and doing the kind of work that’s necessary to make that happen in a way that works for both sides.”

My Response

“Ms Fitzgerald says "she has strong views on this" but what exactly is she going to do about this? She uses words like Conservative approach....does she know I wonder what that word means. The word conservative meaning ' traditional and held views'... that indicates nothing is going to change... therefore for people like me 'illegal adoptees living in limbo' nothing is going to change..her comment on "people who gave up children for adoption and expected privacy that you cant' suddenly break that dramatically" of course you can...we were'nt given up, we were forcibly adopted... for money..however unbelievabley there are legally adopted people in Ireland who can't access their files to this day..human rights .. come on..Ms Fitzgerald!

Time in England hasn't softened her approach to adoption...it sounds just like another typical political statement”.

Neither has Ms Fitzgerald denied the existence of files relating to ‘illegal’ adoptions!.

This is 2011 not the 1950s – it is time for change and that time is now.

The Australian government have apologised to the Aborigines for the way they were treated ,and the British Government in 2010 apololgised to the numerous British children shipped out, away from their parents to no mans land where they were abused and mistreated. The Irish government...not one hint of recognition or apology to 'illegal adoptees'...not good enough ..and definitely not from a human rights perspective!

New adoption legislation will give adopted people univeral rights

Galway Advertiser, October 27, 2011. By Mary O’connor - www.advertiser.ie

IRISH EXAMINER - 1ST JULY -RACHEL BORRIL

Reaching Out – 3 womens personal tales of searching for their birth mothers - Pages 4 & 5 - www.adoptionrightsalliance.com

Scale of illegal adoptions is unknown - Conall Ó Fátharta -Irish Examiner - Thursday, June 16, 2011. THE Government has admitted it has no idea as to the scale of illegal adoptions and birth ...

Excerpt: The full scale of illegal adoptions and birth registrations in Ireland prior to the 1970s is unknown, the government has admitted.Mother-and-baby homes, normally run by the church, facilitated the illegal adoption of children until 42 homes were closed in 1972, after the Health Care Act was enacted.During parliamentary questions Socialist Party TD Clare Daly asked the current Health Minister James Reilly about the scale of the of illegal birth registrations and illegal adoptions facilitated by such homes

I was informed today 17th June that Clare Daly is still pressing ahead with this issue

Clare Daly TD – Debate on Residential Institutions Redress Board

"Similarly, the points have been well made about the Bethany Home, and I do not wish to repeat them but I fully agree with them. I agree with the points made about the statutory trust fund. There must be some element of discretion in terms of how some people get compensation. I think an area that will come under this remit, which will not be closed off with the residents of Magdalene laundries and the Bethany Home is the illegal activity which took places in the 40 mother and baby homes which were closed in 1972, the largely church-run institutions where hundreds of children were illegally adopted and where birth registrations were illegally carried out. The lives of some people are blighted when they set out to seek their parents. The name of their biological mother was never entered on the birth certificate and they were given the names of their adoptive parents, as their biological parents. The State is trying to claim that this is a private matter. That is false. These mother and baby homes which were run by the religious orders, were paid a per capita sum by the State for the numbers that they catered for. The nuns supposedly gave these fallen women a roof over their head and in return these women effectively worked as slaves, in laundries, kitchens and farms of these institutions, often being required to look after their children for a number of years before the children were adopted. Many of those people have been in touch with me recently. It is a crime to falsify the registration of a birth, but there is documented proof that false registration was carried out and facilitated by adoption agencies, some of which are still accredited by the Adoption Board today.

The HSE has files of the agencies that have ceased to operate. It says it can make the files available to those who want to investigate and find their birth parents but in practice it is not happening. We were contacted last week by a gentleman who was adopted from the Bessborough Care Centre, Cork, which was closed in the late 1970s. The HSE will not give access to the files on that case. Many people have spent tens of thousands of euro trying to access what should be available from a freedom of information request. It is criminal. We are paving the way to have another layer of people, who already are abuse victims, whose needs have not been calculated in this situation.

This is an area that must be included. The Adoption Board must be proactive and the HSE also has a role to play. Ultimately, the State was culpable in colluding with the church and the role given to the church in Ireland allowed it to operate as a state within the State. It is the clearest example of why we need to have a defined separation of church and State, which must also be part of this process.

Fri 3rd June 2011 - Historic adoptees have no rights

Historic adoptees will not have legal right to trace parents By Claire O’Sullivan

Friday, June 03, 2011 - ADULTS who were put up for adoption when they were babies are not going to be given legal entitlement to trace their natural parents, according to the Minister for Children.

23rd April 2011- The Irish Independent -Adoption Rights Letter

Playing politics with adopted children's rights DAVID QUINN's concern for the welfare of adopted children and those conceived via sperm and egg donation is touching (Irish Independent, April 8, 2011).

However, we must strenuously object to the issue of adopted people's rights being hijacked for the purpose of illustrating Mr Quinn's argument against gay marriage. Children who are in need of homes are not concerned with labels like marriage or civil partnership; rather, these children are looking for security and that security must not come at the price of losing your identity or access to family, culture and heritage.

In cases where children genuinely need to be separated from their natural families, a truly child-centred system would assess each child's needs on an individual basis so that the best possible home would be found for that child, regardless of whether the home was provided by a single person, a gay couple or a straight couple.

We must never forget that adoption is about finding homes for children, not children for homes that want them. We are concerned that Ireland has lost sight of the intended purpose of adoption, with the rights of adults taking precedence over those of children.

It is disingenuous of Mr Quinn to use children's rights to address his objections to gay marriage. If he is concerned about the rights of adopted and donor-conceived children, we suggest that he confine his arguments to those issues that genuinely affect the children concerned.

CLAIRE McGETTRICK AND SUSAN LOHAN
ADOPTION RIGHTS ALLIANCE

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