January 12, 2022
Human rights of adoptees and mothers failed again – Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children and Chair of Joint Oireachtas Committee for Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has said that the government’s proposed Birth Information and Tracing Legislation published today is totally at odds with the express wishes of adoptees and mothers.  

Teachta Funchion said:

“I am completely dismayed that the Minister, once again, has failed to listen to adoptees, mothers or their advocates.

“What I find most disappointing is the government’s deliberate ploy to spin today’s announcement as a win for adoptees and mothers. 

“The reality is this is no win; they have not been listened to.

“Today should have marked an historic moment for adoptees in the long and exhausting journey they have travelled. It should have led to them gaining full and unfettered access to their records and birth information. 

“Instead, they have once again been met with another government bill that will not deliver.

“I am particularly disappointed by the requirement for mandatory information sessions; at first glance it seems that this provision has been removed. 

“But on further inspection it appears the only thing that has changed is the mechanism by which this ‘meeting’ takes place. Bearing in mind that no other Irish citizen making a similar application would be obliged to go through this process.

“I am extremely concerned about red line issues for adoptees, which the Minister and government are very aware of, such as unrestricted access to birth certs and information, has not been provided for.

“I cannot comprehend how key recommendations from the Joint Oireachtas Children’s Committee Report, which I chair, have not been included at all in the redrafting of this legislation.

“The extensive work undertaken by the committee, the hours and hours of testimony from adoptees, mothers, survivors and their advocates; the significant and all-encompassing report and comprehensive consultation all appears to have been in vain. 

“This makes a mockery of the committee and its work.

“It is clear, from what the Minister has announced today, that this fight is just beginning, and I know that I and Sinn Féin will not be found wanting. 

“We are committed to ensuring that all adoptees and mothers are included, listened to and their wishes acted on.

“The bill will now come before the same Oireachtas Children’s Committee. It goes without saying that the devil will always be in the detail, and it will take time to dig down into this bill. 

“I would like to take this opportunity to assure adoptees, mothers and their advocates that I and my colleagues will work to ensure this legislation upholds their human rights.

“Finally, I would like to commend all adoptees, mothers, survivors, their families and advocates for their unending and relentless pursuit of justice. 

“It is a little over 20 years since the first piece of legislation was introduced to allow access to one’s adoptive and birth information files, and it is right to remember that the government started this journey seeking to criminalise adoptees for seeking their information.

“Their journey and fight continues.”

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