Group demands changes
to offer adopted people basic rights
By Conall Ó Fátharta
Irish Examiner Saturday, September 29, 2012
The Government has been
urged to offer basic legal rights to adopted people before allowing for
children in care and marital children to be legally adopted.
Under the terms of the
children’s referendum, it is proposed to remove barriers to adopting
children in care and in long-term foster arrangements.
Currently, a child living in long-term foster care, abandoned by their
married parents effectively cannot be adopted unless it is proven their
parents failed in their duties towards them and that this is likely to
continue until the child’s 18th birthday.
The Adoption Rights Alliance has criticised the Government for proposing
for more children to be adopted without offering them the basic legal
rights available to everyone else in the State.
For example, more than 50,000 adopted people have no automatic legal
right to their birth certificate, no legal right to their medical
information or history, or any legal right to tracing information about
Frances Fitzgerald, the children’s minister, said in January her
department was preparing an Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill.
However, her response to a parliamentary question suggested this
legislation would merely put the current tracing guidelines on a
"It is intended that non-identifying information could be provided
to an adopted person over 18 or to a birth parent," said Ms
"Non-identifying information is information by which another party
could not reasonably be expected to be identified and could, for
example, include the forename, religion, approximate age, occupation,
birth details, interests, hobbies, educational history, family history
and medical history."
Susan Lohan of the alliance claimed Ms Fitzgerald’s comments on
privacy were vague, indicating that the drafters of the bill were
focusing on the "secrecy" aspects of privacy, which allows
organisations who facilitated illegal adoptions to keep its files
"The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that no one
should be subjected to arbitrary interference with their privacy,
family, or correspondence, and should also not be subjected to
discrimination due to the circumstances of their birth," said Ms
Lohan. "Yet the Irish State systematically denies adopted people
these basic rights.
"More recently, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child sets
out a child’s right to their name, the right to know their parents,
the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including
nationality, name, and family relations.
"In the absence of legislation to facilitate these rights, the
Irish State is knowingly continuing this systematic discrimination
against adopted people."
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