criticised over Adoption Bill
Times, Thu, Dec 03, 2009
BODY representing all adoption agencies in the State has criticised the
Government for moving to pass the Adoption Bill before holding a planned
referendum on the rights of the child.
Council of Irish Adoption Agencies warned yesterday the new legislation
failed to provide the legal right to enable adopted people to trace
their birth parents or obtain post-adoption services such as
said the lack of a constitutional amendment on the rights of children
was a key factor in preventing the Adoption Bill from strengthening the
rights of adopted children and families.
take the view that it is a case of putting the cart before the horse. We
needed a referendum on the rights of the child and then the Adoption
Bill,” said Marian Bennett, a social worker on the council’s ethics
committee. “It’s probably too late now to amend the Adoption
Bill,” she added.
said adopted children are still being denied basic information about who
they are and access to their birth certificates, which was their basic
the constitutional protection afforded to family life through the
Constitution meant that birth parents had no statutory rights to trace
adopted children in the Republic. “The referendum on the rights of the
child is long overdue. I think there has been a loss of impetus with
regard to the issue,” said Ms Bennett at the launch of a new guidebook
for social workers, An Ethical Framework for Adoption in Ireland.
Government said it would introduce a constitutional amendment on the
rights of children following the “Baby Ann” case in 2006. In this
case the Supreme Court ruled that a two-year-old girl should be returned
to the custody of her birth parents from her adoptive parents when they
withdrew consent for her adoption.
the book launch yesterday Justice Catherine McGuinness, who presided
over the Supreme Court case, said Baby Ann had “no voice” at all
during the case. She said she was hopeful the proposed referendum on the
rights of the child would take place shortly. But she said the Adoption
Bill included key provisions to boost child protection, principally
bringing the Hague Convention on the protection of children into statute
law, and should not be delayed.
a lengthy delay an Oireachtas committee, chaired by Mary O’Rourke, is
expected to formulate the wording of the proposed constitutional
amendment on the rights of the child shortly.
Britain adopted children have had the legal right to trace their natural
parents since 1973. But in Ireland many adopted children and birth
parents face legal problems in tracing their relatives.
2009 The Irish Times
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