Rights Alliance Statement on Illegal Adoptions
19th April 2010
Rights Alliance, which campaigns for the rights of Ireland’s 42,000+
adopted people, welcomes the exposure of illegal adoption practices in
Ireland by Conall O’Fatharta in the Irish Examiner today.
of our members became aware of illegal Irish adoptions in their capacity
as then operators of Ireland’s first Adoption Contact Register
(established in 1999), where children were falsely registered as the
natural children of their “adoptive” parents, but grew up believing
that they were born to those parents. When the truth about their origins
is inevitably revealed, they discover that they have little or no chance
of tracing their natural mothers as their birth certificates were
falsified and their real names and those of their mothers were never
our extensive contacts with adopted people, we know that illegal
adoptions were not just arranged by private individuals but also by
registered church run adoption agencies, which should have been
inspected and monitored by the Irish Adoption Board.
the Adoption Board’s knowledge of illegal adoptions, the agencies
implicated in the practices have never been deregistered and
prosecutions have not been zealously pursued.
Instead the Adoption Board, a quasi-judicial body funded by
taxpayers, has allowed these church backed agencies to self-regulate and
has refused to seize or even inspect the original files containing the
missing information. In
Tressa Reeves’ case, highlighted by the Examiner, the Adoption Board
has refused to contact her now 49 year old son Andre to tell him he is
adopted and they have colluded with the clerical director of the agency
involved to keep this illegal adoption secret.
fact, the said director, Sr Francis Fahy was accepted by the Board CEO,
John Collins, as the nominee of the Council of Irish Adoption Agencies
to sit on an advisory group, which advised the Board on best practices
thus bringing her agency’s vested interests and her retrograde views
to the so-called modernisation table.
century legislation is urgently required because there is nothing to
stop illegal adoptions from happening today.
Barry Andrews’ proposed 2009 Adoption Bill makes no changes to
the core 1952 Bill on domestic adoption.
It doesn’t allow for adopted people to even know that they are
adopted, just like Tressa’s son, and persists in a closed, secretive
system damaging to all involved.
Adoption Board, under the chairmanship of Geoffrey Shannon, must make
every resource available to people who have already been adopted
illegally to facilitate them in tracing their natural families should
they so desire. Thus far
they have not even bothered to maintain a list of illegal adoptions and
they don’t allow their staff to refer to them as such, insisting
instead on the sanitised term “de facto”.
implications of closed, secret adoption are not confined to the adopted
person alone but to each subsequent generation.
Adopted people, their children and grandchildren are not only
deprived of adequate medical history (which has sometimes resulted in
life threatening situations), they are also denied their natural family
history and heritage and the right to grow up knowing their natural
people, whether they were adopted legally or illegally, are highly
frustrated at the level of discrimination they are forced to endure.
Whilst the tax payer funds extensive tracing services for the
Irish diaspora and Minister Andrews himself has benefitted from RTE’s
“Who Do Think You Are” programme, adopted people meanwhile are
expected to “leave the past in the past” and are denied their birth
Rights Alliance would like to establish the level of illegal adoptions
in Ireland and to offer support to those affected. We are therefore inviting adopted people or natural parents
who know about illegal adoptions to contact us in complete confidence.
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