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Full scale of
illegal adoptions remains unknown says Health Minister
Historical data difficult to attain says Minister
By ANTOINETTE KELLY, IrishCentral.com Staff Writer
17th June 2011
The full scale of illegal adoptions and birth registrations in Ireland
prior to the 1970s is unknown, the government has admitted.
Mother-and-baby homes, normally run by the church, facilitated the
illegal adoption of children until 42 homes were closed in 1972, after
the Health Care Act was enacted.
During parliamentary questions Socialist Party TD Clare Daly asked the
current Health Minister James Reilly about the scale of the of illegal
birth registrations and illegal adoptions facilitated by such homes.
Minister Reilly admitted the full extent was unknown.
“The issues raised by the deputy relate to practices that were private
arrangements which involved the birth of a child being registered as the
child of those persons or families that took the child, rather than of
the birth mother," he said.
"The issuing of birth certificates is a matter for the Department
of Social Protection, and suspected irregularities should be
investigated by that department. The scale of such illegal birth
registrations is unknown."
Speaking about the possibility of tracing the historical documentarion
he said : "the nature and secretiveness of the process means that
any correlation of data is extremely difficult".
Prior to the 1970s severl religious institutions in Ireland ran
mother-and-baby homes throughout the country. The homes, normally run by
nuns, were paid a per-capita sum by the state dependant on the numbers
they catered for.
Women who fell pregnant out of wedlock were sent to such homes and many
forced to work in the laundries, kitchens and farms of these
institutions. Once their child was born, they were more often than not
forced to give it up for adoption.
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