The Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) pointed out that questions on the census about place of birth, nationality, and ethnic background are impossible for many adopted people to fill out accurately as they have no legal right to that information
Currently, adopted people have no automatic legal right to their birth certificate or medical history.
As a result, a number of adopted people added comments to their census forms hitting out at the fact they were being asked for information by the State which they could not access by right.
One person pointed out on the census form that “it is not equal rights that the State demands information from me when, as an adoptee, the State refuses me my personal information”.
In relation to the question on place of birth — which asks people to give “the place where your mother lived at the time of your birth” — another adopted person wrote that it is impossible for many adopted people, as they do not know.
The person wrote: “Re place of mother’s residence at birth, as an adopted person my ‘official’ place of birth is indicated as Dublin. However, this is factually incorrect.
“I am not legally entitled to know this, however, through my own efforts and the consultation of public records, I have established that my place of birth and mother’s residence are both Cork. Questions of family relationships do not allow correct and factual information to be given in respect of 100,000 approx adopted persons and their natural and adoptive families. This omission needs to be corrected.”
This was echoed by another adopted woman who wrote on her form: “With the consent of the State and the blessing of the Church, the details on my birth cert are not factually correct. I was born in Cork — Bessborough Mother and Baby Home — not Dublin as stated. Please don’t feel shamed on my behalf and conceal my origins. I am not ashamed. I am adopted. It is time to address the true origins of Ireland’s ‘boarded out’, ‘banished’, adopted, and fostered people and acknowledge them as citizens with equal rights.”
In a statement, the CSO said the census questions for 2021 will be up for review and will allow the public, groups, organisations, and census data users to make submissions. It anticipates this will happen in the next 18 to 24 months.