Children and Youth Affairs, Human Rights

Survivors groups welcome new Adoption Bill

— Minister Reilly goes the distance —

— Illegally and informally adopted fully included —

— 200 page Bill finally address’s all adoption issues —

Adoption rights and survivors groups have warmly welcomed the new Adoption Bill after a detailed briefing from Minister James Reilly. All the issues that have previously caused problems appear to have been comprehensively addressed.

The survivor community are delighted that illegally and informally adopted people — often the victims of serious crimes — have finally been given equal status with legally adopted people in terms of tracing and searching as this was a red line matter for the community. Minister Reilly clearly spelled out the comprehensive sea change in attitude in Government circles that has brought Ireland into line with best international practice and while comparisons with other countries are often misleading, Ireland has caught up with, and even passed many countries today. The Government will not just release birth certs but information from adoption files and even basic medical information and history. The clear thrust of the legislation is towards openness and a new beginning.

The only issue raised where there was dissent was the one year lead-in to enacting the legislation after it’s passed but when Paul Redmond pointed out to the Minister that the groups were representing an aging community, the Minister declared that nothing was fully decided as yet and there would be opportunities to fully tease out the problem during the pre legislative consultation process chaired by Jerry Buttimer. CMABS will continue to work in good faith with Minister Reilly.

Paul Redmond, chairperson of CMABS said;

“It’s a breakthrough day at last and adoption secrecy has finally been rejected in favour of full adoption equality. We’ve been waiting generations for this day of equality. This is a great victory for all the campaigning groups and a new era has dawned in Ireland for openness and cooperation between the Government and the survivor community. It’s also important on this day to remember and acknowledge all those who have passed away without seeing this day. Generations of single mothers and their children were stigmatised and ostracised in the past and we must never forget their pain and suffering. Their loss must become part of our shared history as a nation and no history of Ireland will ever again be complete without a chapter on the appalling and discriminatory treatment of 100,000 single mothers, and 100,000 sons and daughters, many of whom died in horrific circumstances in hellhole Mother and Baby homes. We will continue to work constructively with Minister Reilly and his staff and the Minister has earned enormous goodwill from the survivor community for his genuine and goodhearted efforts since he assumed office. While we have often feared the worst, James Reilly has in most cases surpassed our expectations.”