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The State turned a blind eye to this abuse for decades. It is now time to shine a light on this dark practice.

The State turned a blind eye to illegal adoptions for decades and must now establish an inquiry to finally determine the extent of this travesty, according to Social Democrats Social Justice Spokesperson Holly Cairns.

Deputy Cairns was commenting following the publication of a report into illegal adoptions, published today by the special rapporteur on child protection Dr Conor O’Mahony.

“Forced family separation, and the denial of access to one’s identity, are particularly cruel and dehumainisng forms of abuse, which were facilitated by the Irish state for decades. Religious orders, public bodies and other institutions conspired to destroy people’s sense of belonging and personhood from the day they were born.

“To compound this wrong, the State subsequently did everything possible to deny adopted people and parents access to information. In doing so, the State denied wrongdoing, dismissed rights, infantilised survivors and further traumatised them.

“The recommendation, in Dr O’Mahony’s report, for a State inquiry into illegal adoptions must be acted on immediately. The State turned a blind eye to this abuse for decades. It is now time to shine a light on this dark practice. The government cannot delay in this regard. We do not need another report or consultation – we need an inquiry. It is the least that adopted people, parents and their relatives deserve.

“A State apology, for this gross abuse, is also necessary. While illegal adoptions are interconnected with Mother and Baby Homes, there are many people affected who did not go through that system. As a result, they could not participate in the Mother and Baby Homes Commission and were not included in the Taoiseach’s apology last year.

“The government will no doubt claim that the Birth Information and Tracing Bill, which is currently making its way through the Oireachtas, will address many of this report’s recommendations. This is simply untrue. Over the past two weeks, I have tabled and argued for over 300 amendments, based on engagements with human rights experts and survivors. Not a single amendment has been accepted by the Minister for Children.

“Adopted people have been denied access to their personal data for decades. They are therefore highly sceptical of the government’s assurance it is acting in their best interests. Dr. O’Mahony’s report provides a clear roadmap for action that must be followed immediately.”

14 March, 2022


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