Government criticised for 'hypocrisy and dishonesty' over illegal adoption inquiry

Adoption campaigners have hit out at the "hypocrisy and dishonesty" of the Government in refusing to launch an inquiry into forced and illegal adoption.

It comes as a number of prominent independent politicians introduced a motion in the Dáil calling for an immediate inquiry and for immediate redress to be offered to survivors of Mother and Baby Homes.

The current inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes is limited to adoption practices and procedures of agencies and individuals with a direct connection to a mother and baby home. For more than a decade now, campaigners have called for a full State inquiry into adoption practices across all agencies.

Paul Redmond of the Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors (CMABS) said the increasing support for a full inquiry into is encouraging:

"This Dáil motion has exposed the hypocrisy and dishonesty at the heart of a Government who have decided on a 'deny till they die' policy towards an elderly and dying survivor community.

Leo Varadkar's office still refuses to answer CMABS' calls for a meeting and wilfully ignores correspondence. Shame on Zappone and Varadkar, this is their true political legacy behind their slick spin doctors and expensive publicity machines. Enough talk, survivors demand action.

The motion was introduced by independent TD Clare Daly and is supported by a number of other independent TDs including Mick Wallace, Joan Collins, Catherine Connolly, Maureen O'Sullivan, Thomas Pringle and Thomas Broughan.

Ms Daly said it is clear from evidence already in the public domain with regard to illegal adoptions that a separate inquiry into adoption practices in Ireland is required.

She cited the "heroic work" done by the Irish Examiner in exposing forced and illegal adoption practices since 2010. She pointed out that children's minister Katherine Zappone's decision to launch a scoping exercise into illegal birth registrations was not appropriate and did not go far enough.

The Irish Examiner revealed in April that the long-delayed scoping exercise is looking at a sample of just more than 1% of records held by Tusla and the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) and is not looking for evidence of illegal adoptions. Instead, records are being compared against a set list of 24 labels or "markers" which might indicate an illegal birth registration has occurred.

It is unclear if any completed adoption orders are being examined as part of the inquiry.

The scoping exercise was announced by children's minister Katherine Zappone last May following the discovery by Tusla of 126 cases in which births were illegally registered between 1946 and 1969 in the records of the former St Patrick’s Guild adoption agency. Some of these records were marked "adopted from birth".

The records transferred to the agency in 2016.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) had previously declined to reveal the sample size of the 150,000 records to be examined as part of the review or the methodology involved.

In response, Ms Zappone said the issue of forced and illegal adoption, and issues surrounding Mother and Baby homes, had "left a stain on our nation" but said the current Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes had "sufficient scope" to examine the issues.

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