The credibility of public administration has been undermined by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) assertion that 126 cases of the illegal registration of babies brought to light last month “represents the first time” evidence had been established with a high level of certainty. That the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) reported at least one case to the DPP and gardaí 16 years ago challenges that DCYA statement in a worrying way.
The AAI said: “The Authority notified the DPP in 2002, and An Garda Síochána in 2003, of a case of an alleged illegal birth registration. The authority was notified... in 2003 that no further action would be taken.” That seems conclusive and raises the usual questions about regulation and the application of the law in this Republic, especially as the AAI says that 2002 referral was not the only one it made.
A significant number of cases were uncovered in an 2010 audit and these were made known to the DCYA at that time. In June, 2011, the AAI wanted a more comprehensive probe but no action was taken. In 2015, the Irish Examiner
revealed that an AAI delegation told the DCYA again in June 2013 of there being “at least 120 [confirmed] cases” of illegal registrations found as the result of the 2010 audit.
No matter how this is dressed up, it is clear that the most vulnerable in our society were again failed by the very agencies they should be able to rely on for protection.