20/05/2013 – Conall O’Fatharta

Adoption group may seek UN assistance in extending rightsMonday, May 20, 2013. The Adoption Rights Alliance is considering going to the United Nations in order to force the State to grant adopted people the same rights as every other Irish citizen. The group said it was considering the move following the successful Justice For Magdalenes campaign, which brought the human rights abuses suffered by women in Magdalene Laundries to the UN.

ARA is also seeking clarification from children’s minister Frances Fitzgerald on comments she made in the Dáil last week that a referendum may be needed in order to grant adopted people full tracing and information rights. Such rights have been routinely available in Britain and the North since the 1970s.

Ms Fitzgerald has consistently referred to obstacles to full tracing rights for adopted people presented by a 1998 Supreme Court ruling that said the mother’s right to privacy would have to be balanced against the adopted persons right to know.

Susan Lohan of ARA said clarification was needed on the minister’s remarks.

The 1998 Supreme Court ruling was condemned internationally and we regard the judgement as having stood up for secrecy rather than privacy, said Ms Lohan. Adopted people’s right to lead a private family life is steadfastly denied.

Ms Lohan also hit out at the Adoption Authority which, she said, continued to support agencies with publicly acknowledged criminal pasts, and had refused to investigate evidence of forced and illegal adoptions going back decades.

ARA co-founder Claire McGettrick, who was also central to the success of the JFM campaign, said that adopted people would also go to Europe to force the Irish State to grant adopted people the same rights that every other citizen of the country now enjoys.

One adopted person told us he was made feel like a pariah because he asked for something everybody else takes for granted, said Ms McGettrick.

JFM’s successful campaign in bringing Magdalene Laundry human rights abuses to the attention of the United Nations is a model being strongly considered by ARA.

The proposed Tracing and Information legislation seems to be aimed at putting current guidelines and the National Contact Preference Register on a statutory footing. It is also intended to facilitate contact between parties affected by illegal adoptions.

The NCPR has been heavily criticised by adopted people and natural parents. Since its creation in 2005, it has received almost 9,000 requests up to 2010. It matched just 482 people a success rate of about 5%.

It is estimated that there are at least 50,000 adopted people in Ireland.


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