The Government is committed to passing legislation that will allow people who were illegally adopted to access and trace their information, the Taoiseach has told the Dáil.
Andocumentary to be aired on Wednesday night will track Ireland’s illegal adoptions and some of the individuals who facilitated the once-common practice.
The documentary makers have uncovered new evidence of the involvement of some of Ireland’s most elite and powerful individuals in repeatedly arranging the illegal adoption of babies.
Among them was the son of a president of Ireland, Professor Eamonn de Valera Junior – a consultant gynaecologist at Holles Street National Maternity Hospital. De Valera junior arranged antenatal appointments for a woman who was not pregnant in order to facilitate an illegal adoption. This was almost a decade after the Adoption Act 1952 came into force.
The issue was raised during Leaders' Questions in the Dáil on Wednesday afternoon by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald. She said people's lives were being impacted by finding out they were "not who they thought they were".
“ Many have lived for decades unaware of their identities& without access to their records ...Sinn Féin has published legislation, I am appealing to you Taoiseach to support this legislation" @MaryLouMcDonald #BirthCerts4AdopteesNow #MotherandBabyHomes pic.twitter.com/KFa2xhRnQA— Nikki G😷 #IMissHugs #WashYerHands #StaySafe (@nikki_gavan) March 3, 2021
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the Government was committed to passing "comprehensive legislation" to address the difficulties that people had in accessing their records which, he said, caused "justifiable anger and frustration". He said a 2018 sampling review of registrations commissioned by the then-government is intended to be published soon with a memo to go to Cabinet next week. The publication of the review had to wait until after the Mother and Baby Homes Commission's report was published.
Later in the debate, Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall raised the discrepancies between the numbers of vaccines forecast to be delivered to Ireland and those administered. She said 80% of the Moderna vaccine anticipated had not been given to people.
"What has happened to those vaccines that we were told would be administered?" she asked.
The Taoiseach said the issue was supply "across the board" and said the EU had appointed a commissioner to address any bottlenecks in the supply. He said the country had to "reconfigure" some plans because of the decision to use Pfizer and Moderna for older people.
"We are administering what is coming in, bar some kept back for second doses."
Ms Shortall said this was not supported by the available figures. She said those figures should be available freely, which would give confidence and clarity to the public.