Survivors Seek Answers over Illegal Adoptions
By Conall O Fatharta
September 4, 2018
Campaigners have called on the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to explain why it “buried” evidence on illegal birth registrations it was given by the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) in 2015.
|Paul Redmond of the Coalition of Mother and Baby Homes Survivors (CMABS) said he was appalled that Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone had access to this material in her department|
It comes as the Irish Examiner revealed yesterday that the State’s regulatory body for adoption sent three reports on illegal birth registrations — including a spreadsheet of 90 cases — to the department in 2015, three years before the St Patrick’s Guild illegal birth registrations scandal broke.
Campaign groups have reacted angrily to the news and have questioned why no action was taken in 2015 on foot of detailed information supplied by the AAI.
Paul Redmond of the Coalition of Mother and Baby Homes Survivors (CMABS) said he was appalled that Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone had access to this material in her department and accused her of “burying the truth”.
This is a disgusting breach of trust and has once again put innocent lives at risk by damning them to giving fake medical histories to doctors,” said Mr Redmond. “Minister Zappone needs to resign immediately as it is clear she is incapable of doing her job in an honest and transparent manner. Survivors’ lives matter.
Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) said it was “simply not true” for the department to persist in claiming that the discovery of 126 illegal birth registrations in the files of the former adoption agency St Patrick’s Guild represents “the only cases in which clear evidence of incorrect registrations has been found”.
“Members of ARA and similar advocacy groups such as the Natural Parents Network of Ireland have consistently flagged the criminal act of illegal adoptions committed by various adoption agencies with various Minister for Children, commencing in 2001 with Mary Hanafin, through Brian Lenihan, Barry Andrews, Frances Fitzgerald, and James Reilly up to Katherine Zappone in 2017,” said Ms Lohan. “We have provided testimonies and evidence from adopted people and their natural parents on same to no avail.”
This paper has previously reported that the Department of Children was told about illegal birth registrations by the AAI as far back as in 2011, and again in 2013. The 2015 information provided to the department by its regulatory body included a detailed breakdown of some 90 cases which it felt constituted illegal birth registrations.
The department has claimed this information related to cases “where the appearance of irregular activity suggested the possibility of an incorrect registration having occurred”, before pointing out that the 126 cases found by Tusla this year were confirmed cases of illegal birth registration.
“The 126 cases currently being dealt with by Tusla were confirmed, once a rigorous process was completed to ensure that the State could be as sure as possible that these individuals’ births were, in fact, illegally registered,” said the department.