I have been asking about an audit of adoption files for six years now. Despite revelation after revelation, the HSE, AAI, DCYA and Tusla deem these records not worth auditing. I wonder why. Here in 2010, the HSE took three months to respond – even then not answering the specific questions I posed. This is four years before Tuam.
THE Adoption Board has said it has no intention of inspecting all adoption files held by the HSE and private adoption agencies, despite the HSE admitting some files contain evidence of illegal birth registrations.
The revelation comes after the Irish Examiner queried the HSE concerning an entry on its website.
“After the introduction of legal adoption in Ireland in 1952, some children’s births were registered directly into the name of the ‘adoptive’ parents. This practice had the effect of removing all reference to the natural parents from the official record and also meant the Adoption Board had no record of the case, as there had been no legal adoption. Some adoption agencies have records in relation to these,” states the entry.
It is a crime to falsely register a birth. The result of such practices meant some children were raised believing they were the natural child of their ‘parents’ when, in fact, they were falsely registered and illegally adopted.
In some cases, this was facilitated by adoption agencies, some of which remain accredited by the Adoption Board to this day.
A response was issued by the HSE after three months, in which it failed to answer any of the questions put to it.
“The HSE did receive files from a number of agencies when they ceased to operate. These files have been stored and are available to be reopened, as required. If the HSE receives a request to access the file from an individual who was adopted, this can be facilitated. Similarly, if information comes to light to suggest that an adoption was illegally registered this can be investigated further. However, it is important to note that if an adoption was illegally registered, this fact is not normally noted in the adoption file,” a statement read.
Despite its knowledge that some adoption files contain evidence of illegal registrations, the Adoption Board said it had never contacted or inspected any files held by the HSE.
The Adoption Board also said it has “no plans” to inspect the files of all adoption agencies and the HSE “within its current work schedule”.
Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights Alliance said the Adoption Board’s response to the issue was grounds for every member of the authority to resign.
“The fact that the HSE knows the details of adoption agencies which participated in illegal adoptions and that the Adoption Board has no intention to inspect these files to even quantify the extent of the problem is surely grounds for every single member of the board to resign,” said Ms Lohan.
Chairwoman of Adoption Loss – The Natural Parents Network of Ireland, Bernie Harold, called for a full audit of all the files in each of the private and HSE adoption departments in the State to discover the extent of such practices.
“The only body which has the right to inspect every single file in any registered adoption agency is the Adoption Board. We hereby call on the Minister for Children Barry Andrews to issue an instruction to the board to carry out a complete audit of all the files in each of the private and HSE adoption departments in the state,” she said.