While there have been suspicions about the practice of illegal registrations for many years, it has been extremely difficult to uncover clear evidence of the practice because of the deliberate failure by those involved to keep records.
Clear evidence has now been uncovered by Tusla in 126 cases of the former adoption society St Patrick’s Guild, and on 29th May I announced how these cases would be addressed.
In relation to whether such practices are still taking place, knowingly registering a birth incorrectly is an offence, and was an offence at the time of these Saint Patrick’s Guild (SPG) files. By its very nature, the practice is covert and it would be impossible to confirm that no such activity has taken place in recent times. What I can assure the Deputy is that where a State body receives evidence of illegal registrations, the necessary action, including engaging with an Garda Síochána, will be taken as quickly as possible.
The State has also safeguards in place in relation to adoption, including legislation enacted in 1952 to regulate adoption in the interests of children and their birth parents. The Adoption Authority of Ireland is responsible for effecting adoptions in Ireland, and I have no reason to suspect that there are any recent concerns in this area.