No probe into illegal
By Conall O Fátharta
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
THE Adoption Board has
said it has no intention of inspecting all adoption files held by the
HSE and private adoption agencies, despite the HSE admitting some files
contain evidence of illegal birth registrations.
The revelation comes
after the Irish Examiner queried the HSE concerning an entry on its
"After the introduction of legal adoption in Ireland in 1952, some
children’s births were registered directly into the name of the
‘adoptive’ parents. This practice had the effect of removing all
reference to the natural parents from the official record and also meant
the Adoption Board had no record of the case, as there had been no legal
adoption. Some adoption agencies have records in relation to
these," states the entry.
It is a crime to falsely register a birth. The result of such practices
meant some children were raised believing they were the natural child of
their ‘parents’ when, in fact, they were falsely registered and
In some cases, this was facilitated by adoption agencies, some of which
remain accredited by the Adoption Board to this day.
The Irish Examiner asked the HSE if any of the files showing illegal
birth registrations were now in the possession of the HSE and, if so,
had it informed the Adoption Board about such files.
A response was issued by the HSE after three months, in which it failed
to answer any of the questions put to it.
"The HSE did receive files from a number of agencies when they
ceased to operate. These files have been stored and are available to be
reopened, as required. If the HSE receives a request to access the file
from an individual who was adopted, this can be facilitated. Similarly,
if information comes to light to suggest that an adoption was illegally
registered this can be investigated further. However, it is important to
note that if an adoption was illegally registered, this fact is not
normally noted in the adoption file," a statement read.
Despite its knowledge that some adoption files contain evidence of
illegal registrations, the Adoption Board said it had never contacted or
inspected any files held by the HSE.
The Adoption Board also said it has "no plans" to inspect the
files of all adoption agencies and the HSE "within its current work
Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights Alliance said the Adoption Board’s
response to the issue was grounds for every member of the authority to
"The fact that the HSE knows the details of adoption agencies which
participated in illegal adoptions and that the Adoption Board has no
intention to inspect these files to even quantify the extent of the
problem is surely grounds for every single member of the board to
resign," said Ms Lohan.
Chairwoman of Adoption Loss – The Natural Parents Network of Ireland,
Bernie Harold, called for a full audit of all the files in each of the
private and HSE adoption departments in the State to discover the extent
of such practices.
"The only body which has the right to inspect every single file in
any registered adoption agency is the Adoption Board. We hereby call on
the Minister for Children Barry Andrews to issue an instruction to the
board to carry out a complete audit of all the files in each of the
private and HSE adoption departments in the state," she said.
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