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Adoption groups demand inquiry into dissections

By Conall Ó Fátharta

Irish Examiner Saturday, October 08, 2011

ADOPTION groups have received a large surge in calls to helplines following revelations that hundreds of dead babies from mother and baby homes were dissected in universities.

An RTÉ Prime Time investigation into vaccine trials carried out in the homes, found that more than 400 babies were dissected by medical students in a practice that continued into the 1960s.

Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights Alliance said: "We had over 50 calls within the first half hour of the programme ending and it’s been the same today."

The alliance has called for a state inquiry into the vaccine trials and into how the dissections were sanctioned.

"In searching for the truth on medical experimentation and illegal vaccine trials, the whole truth of Ireland’s murky adoption industry must be sought, because if we do not fully own and acknowledge all of our nation’s history, there is little to prevent such abominations from happening again," said Ms Lohan.

Last August, the alliance submitted legislative proposals to Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald calling for adoption information legislation, as well as recommendations for inquiries into illegal adoption practices and the treatment of women and girls in mother and baby homes.

Ms Fitzgerald has said that tracing and information legislation is being examined. However, in a radio interview this summer, she appeared to suggest that such legislation could be offered retrospectively.

"I think you can bring in tracing legislation... not going backwards but from current best practice going forward that the child would have access to birth certs, to detailed information... I think that would be very difficult and there will be people who will be very disappointed hearing that," she said.

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“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning . . . and the most disquieting loneliness." 

Alex Haley, Author of Roots 





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