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Irish Times Letters to the Editor, 4th October 2012

Sir, – Cathal Malone (October 2nd) writes: “the High Court recognised . . . the child is clearly bonded to the adopting parents and the boy as though they were her own parents and brother respectively. Any sundering of these relationships will cause considerable immediate suffering to the child and a real possibility, if not a probability . . . of long-term serious harm”.

In the 1950s and 1960s in Ireland natural mothers gave birth to their babies in mother and baby homes. Some stayed with their babies until the infant was nearly three years old whereupon they were told one day to dress the child in his or her best clothes and the child was taken from the natural mother and driven to the airport and put on a plane to the US.

More than 2,000 infants were sent illegally to the US. Under the 1952 Adoption Act, it was illegal to adopt Irish children out of the country, yet our State issued passports for each and every child. It was also illegal for non-residents to adopt Irish children, yet some of these American adoptive parents had never set foot in Ireland. From the 1950s onwards, more than 50,000 children were adopted in Ireland and have absolutely no rights whatsoever.

It’s a  pity and a great shame that the law didn’t recognise the bond between the child and his/her natural mother back then.

Until such time as adoption is made open and access to adoption files is given freely to the adoptive child (now adult) on request, I will be voting No in the forthcoming referendum. I am tired of being a State secret. – Yours, etc,


Marlton Demesne,


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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." 

Alex Haley, Author of Roots 





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