Press Release, 27th July 2015, 5.30pm – for immediate
Rights Alliance says legislative proposals impose statutory
Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA), a group
advocating for equal and civil rights for adopted people says that the
adoption legislation announced today by Minister for Children, James
Reilly would introduce statutory-based discrimination against adopted
Speaking after today’s briefing on the legislation, ARA’s co-founder
Susan Lohan said, ‘we would very much like to be in a position to
welcome the heads of bill, which Minister Reilly assured us would give
the vast majority of adopted people access to their birth
certificates. However we cannot possibly endorse what we have seen of
the proposals as outlined by the Minister and his officials, as in
some circumstances adopted people will be forced to sign away their
rights in a way that further marginalises them on a statutory basis.’
ARA co-founder Claire McGettrick said, ‘it is important to separate
the issues of information and tracing; adopted people are seeking a
statutory right to information as opposed to a statutory right to a
relationship with their natural mothers.
Adopted people can already navigate the civil records in the
General Registrar’s Office to obtain their birth certificates, and
additional barriers such as an information veto and a statutory
declaration that one will respect one’s natural mother’s privacy are
wholly unnecessary and offensive to adopted people.’
ARA’s US coordinator Mari Steed said, ‘it is deeply disappointing to
note that no provisions appear to have been made in this legislation
for the 2,000+ people who were trafficked to the US for adoption.
Eighteen years after the publication of Mike Milotte’s Banished
Babies, US adopted people remain Ireland’s forgotten diaspora’.
ARA was delighted to hear representatives of three separate natural
mothers’ groups at today’s briefing, all underscore their desire for
adopted people to have unconditional access to their birth
certificates and files as a basic right.
While ARA intends to fully engage with the upcoming committee hearings
on the legislation, and we are happy to work with Minister Reilly, we
wish to stress that the only statutory provisions we are in a position
to endorse is where adopted people are given unconditional access to
their birth certificates and files.