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Proposed State Response to Illegal Birth Registrations in Ireland
On Monday 14 March, the Government published Proposals for a State Response to Illegal Birth Registrations in Ireland by the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Professor Conor O’Mahony.
On Monday 14 March, the Government published Proposals for a State Response to Illegal Birth Registrations in Ireland by the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Professor Conor O’Mahony. Professor O’Mahony was asked to complete this report to propose next steps for Government in response to an independent review of adoption files published in 2021. This review had raised concerns that potentially thousands of adoption files may relate to cases where adoptive parents were illegally entered as a child’s parents on a birth certificate.
Professor O’Mahony’s report, published today, finds that State authorities were aware of the practice of illegal birth registrations for decades, but failed to take sufficient steps to prevent it, investigate it, or amend incorrect records. This failed to vindicate the right to identity of those affected. Moreover, the lengthy delays before taking serious action exacerbated the trauma experienced by people upon learning that the identity which they had lived with for many years was based on a false and illegal birth registration.
Based on this finding, the report makes 17 recommendations for a State response aimed at vindicating the right to identity of persons affected. This includes a State apology; further investigation of files identified as potentially suspicious; the establishment of a specialist tracing team dedicated to reconstructing falsified identities; and a right of expedited review for persons with reasonable suspicions that they were the subject of an illegal birth registration. The report also recommends to provision of supports for persons affected by illegal birth registration, and amendments to the law aimed at allowing the effective use of DNA evidence to assist in tracing. Finally, it finds that illegal birth registrations were one of a range of related illegal adoption practices that have implications for the right to identity and the right to family life, and recommends the establishment of a truth commission on adoption, based on principles of transitional justice
The report can be downloaded here.
The Government’s response to the report can be viewed here.
Some media coverage of the report includes the following:
- Morning Ireland, RTE Radio 1
- Aoife Hegarty, “Report on illegal adoptions to recommend State inquiry” (RTE)
- Noel Baker, “State was aware of illegal birth registrations 'for decades' but did not act” (Irish Examiner)
- Jennifer Bray, “New report calls for State inquiry into illegal adoptions” (Irish Times)
- Órla Ryan, “Illegal adoptions: People whose births were incorrectly registered to receive €3,000 from State” (The Journal)