The Deputy will be aware that I have commenced a further analysis of illegal registrations following on from the announcement that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency had identified 126 cases where births were illegally registered between 1946 and 1969 by St Patrick’s Guild adoption agency.
This analysis will seek to establish if there is further evidence of illegal registrations in the records of other adoption agencies. There are 150,000 records at issue and of these, there are 100,000 currently in the custody of the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Tusla.
If this analysis indicates evidence of illegal registrations then we will undertake a deeper, more extensive analysis of the records.
The information that this process may uncover is life-changing for the individuals affected. During every stage of this process, their right to their identity will be the key determinant of the next steps that we take.
The issue raised by the Deputy of children transported to other jurisdictions, and the payment of fees/donations in relation to the placement of children, are other features of our history which are already in the public domain.
Indeed in approximately 20 of the current 126 identified cases of illegal registrations, the children were subsequently brought outside the jurisdiction. The people affected in these cases also have an assigned social worker and will be offered contact and support.
In relation to the Deputy’s question about whether such activities are ongoing in recent times, I understand that in relation to intercountry adoption, the payment of “reasonable” expenses is allowed.
Finally, the Deputy may be interested in the work of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission which is examining adoption practices in the cases of mothers and children who were resident in specified institutions within its terms of reference. The Commission is also examining the interaction of Mother and Baby Homes with other institutions, organisations and individuals involved with the placement of children from these institutions.
The Social History module which will form part of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission’s final report should prove to be a very valuable insight into our past treatment of mothers and their children in Ireland.