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Adoption Board chief executive leaves post

By Conall Ó Fátharta

Irish Examiner, Friday, July 23, 2010

THE chief executive of the Adoption Board left the post at the beginning of July, it has been confirmed.

John Collins was appointed to the Adoption Board in 2004 and acted as the first chief executive of the authority.

He left the post at the start of this month and his replacement has not yet been announced.

A statement issued by the Office of the Minister of Children, confirmed that Mr Collins had left the post at the start of July, but offered no timeframe as to when a replacement would be announced.

"Mr Collins left the position at the start of July. There was no specific reason for Mr Collins leaving his post. The transfer to a new department was of a routine nature.

"An announcement of a replacement will be made at the time of appointment.

"The replacement process is taking place in the context of the establishment of the new Adoption Authority of Ireland, provided for in the Adoption Act, 2010," the statement read.

The news that Mr Collins has left as chief executive comes less than one month after the Adoption Board confirmed it is to carry out an audit of its information and tracing service records to identify any cases involving illegal activity.

News of the audit came following the Irish Examiner’s investigation into the case of Tressa Reeves, whose son was illegally adopted and falsely registered as the natural child of the adoptive parents.

This was facilitated by St Patrick’s Guild adoption agency, which remains fully accredited by the Adoption Board, despite it being aware of the case since 2001.

It is understood to be the first such audit of any of the Adoption Board records despite repeated calls from adoption groups for more than a decade.

Both the Adoption Rights Alliance and Adoption Loss — The Natural Parents Network of Ireland, have consistently raised concerns about the number of illegal adoptions that have taken place since adoption was made legal here in 1952, and have called for an audit of all of the Adoption Board’s files to ascertain the extent of such illegal practices.

Speaking in May, chairman of the Adoption Board, Geoffrey Shannon, gave a personal commitment that any cases where irregular or illegal practices occurred would be brought to the attention of the Adoption Board and the Gardaí if necessary. 

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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." 

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