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'Ireland's history needs to be cleaned up': Calls for scope of Mother and Baby Homes inquiry to be extended

The Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors also called for a full national DNA database with free testing for all adoptees and illegal adoptees.

Sharon Lawless of TV3's Adoption Stories, Clare Daly TD and Paul Redmond of the Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors
Sharon Lawless of TV3's Adoption Stories, Clare Daly TD and Paul Redmond of the Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors
Image: Hayley Halpin via TheJournal.ie

THE COALITION OF Mother and Baby Home Survivors has called on the government to address the issue of illegal adoption and to extend the remit of the Adoption Bill and current Mother and Baby Homes inquiry.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, spokesperson for the group Paul Redmond said that while the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes was launched four years ago, “in terms of actual practical action, nothing has happened”.

Two weeks ago, Minister for Children Katherine Zappone revealed that at least 126 children adopted from St Patrick’s Guild in Dublin were incorrectly registered as the biological children of their adoptive parents.

Incorrect or “false” registrations occur where a child is placed with a couple or individual who was not the parent, but the birth is then registered as if the child had been born to that couple or individual.

The Irish Examiner today reported that Tusla has raised concerns about another 748 adoption cases from St Patrick’s Guild, which contain evidence of names being changed.

“We asked at the time four years ago that this inquiry should be the last institutional inquiry in this country, that there should be no more drip feeding of us having to campaign for justice for an elderly and dying survivor community,” he said.

Redmond said today that he wants the current inquiry to be extended to include all adoption records, even those from private institutions and hospitals.

“In a lot of cases, women gave birth in private nursing homes and public or private maternity hospitals. They’ve been completely excluded from the current investigation, which is deeply unfair,” he said.

We are a dying community. To the government, please stop all this dragging the band-aid off a tiny bit at a time because it’s just causing our community more and more pain.
Rip the band-aid off, face up to all of these issues now once and for all and do the right thing.

Adding to the words of Redmond today, Independent TD Clare Daly said: “We have to say that a limited scoping exercise is not sufficient, absolutely not. It’s abundantly clear that illegal adoption was widespread.

“People now are being re-traumatised or being traumatised for the first time because they never realised that their identity wasn’t what they thought it was.”

Adoption Bill action

Yesterday, Zappone said that the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 is being held up over concerns about birth parents’ right to privacy.

The Bill aims to give adopted people and people who have been the subject of an incorrect birth registration the right to birth cert information and other information on their identity. It has passed the second stage in the Seanad and is now awaiting Committee stage.

Zappone yesterday met with the Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors to discuss the implementation of the Bill.

Redmond said the group has asked that the new Bill covers “industrial and reformatory school survivors in the sense of getting their records from their time in those institutions”.

“We also asked the Minister for a full national DNA database with free testing for all adoptees and illegal adoptees and we hope that will be put in the new Bill,” he said.

“Ireland’s history needs to be cleaned up and we need to do it now.”

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