Ireland: Adoption campaigners urge immediate probe

Thursday, May 31, 2018

By Conall Ó Fátharta,  Irish Examiner Reporter

Adoption campaigners want an immediate inquiry into the scale of illegal adoptions — a call they have repeatedly made for years.

Claire McGettrick of the Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) said an investigation into all illegal adoptions was now needed but said the current Mother and Baby Homes Commission was “not a suitable mechanism” to undertake this inquiry.

“While we welcome the appointment of the Independent Reviewer and while the targeted sampling exercise may be an acceptable approach in the short term, it will not suffice in the long-term.”

“The only way to ensure that illegally adopted people who are unaware of their status will be able to learn of their adoptions is to conduct a complete survey of all adoption files. It is simply unacceptable to leave anyone behind.”

The group has Minister Katherine Zappone to ensure that the investigation of illegal adoptions takes place within a transitional justice framework that encompasses truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence.

Paul Redmond of the Coalition of Mother and Baby Homes Survivors (CMABS) said Minister Zappone’s announcement was “just the tip of a very large iceberg of fraud, forgery, baby trafficking, child abduction and criminal activity by rogue Irish adoption agencies who have destroyed tens of thousands of innocent peoples’ lives”.

“It is important to note that the adoption community has been calling for an audit of St Patrick’s Guild files, and other agencies, for over 20 years. Government after government have willfully ignored such calls while adoptees have died by the thousands.

“Perhaps the most vital issue here is that illegally adopted people have spent generations going to their doctors and hospitals and unknowingly giving false — and potentially lethal — family medical histories that do not in fact relate to them. Illegal adoptees carry on this practice for their children and even their grandchildren,” he said.

Mr Redmond also rejected Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s assertion that it is too early to consider redress or free DNA tests for the victims of illegal registrations.

The voice of Irish First Mothers group has called for any evidence of illegality in the files to be passed onto gardaí so a formal criminal investigation can begin.

“The Government chose to exclude the activities of adoption agencies from the ongoing Commission of Investigation. Therefore the police service is currently the qualified body to determine the scope of the criminal activity which is now admitted by the Government.”IFM Founder Kathy McMahon told a Dáil Committee in 2015: “Those records are not normal confidential records, they are evidence related to the illegal acts to which we and our infants were subjected… crimes against natural identity.”