adoption bill criticised
By Conall Ó Fátharta
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
THE proposed Adoption
Bill has been criticised for failing to provide the legal right to
enable adopted people to trace their birth parents or obtain a range of
At a Joint Oireachtas
Committee on Health and Children yesterday, a number of groups took
issue with some aspects of the proposed legislation.
Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights Alliance voiced concern at what she
termed "a deeply flawed" bill.
"There is not a single new provision for information and tracing in
the bill. The phrase ‘children’s rights’ does not even appear
anywhere in the bill.
"It also allows for bilateral agreements with any and every country
to continue. The bill promotes intercountry adoption as a first means of
resort rather than the last," she said.
In Britain, adopted children have had the legal right to trace their
natural parents since 1973. However, in Ireland, many adopted children
and birth parents face legal problems in tracing their relatives.
Chief executive of the Children’s Alliance, Jillian van Turnhout,
welcomed the bill but was "utterly frustrated" that it failed
to make provision for pre- or post-adoption services to support the
The bill failed to address some 2,000 children who have been in foster
care for a significant number of years and are not eligible for
adoption, she said.
Chairwoman of the Council of Irish Adoption Agencies, Sheila Gallagher,
was also concerned that the bill failed to provide the legal right to
enable adopted people to trace their birth parents or obtain
post-adoption services such as counselling.
Chairperson of the Adoption Loss/Natural Parents Network of Ireland,
Bernie Harold, hit out at the proposed legislation, saying it
"continues to deny adopted people the right to know that they are
Norah Gibbons, from Barnardos, said the growing number of open adoptions
(where the natural mother and the adoptive parents know each other) were
also not recognised in the bill.
The Adoption Bill will see Ireland finally ratify the Hague Convention.
To date, of the 55 countries who have signed up to the convention, only
Ireland and Russia have failed to ratify it. Ireland signed the
convention in 1993.
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