October 1, 2023

‘Their fight continues’ – TD says new adoption tracing law ‘totally at odds’ with wishes of adoptees and mothers in Kilkenny

A local TD has hit out at the proposed Birth Information and Tracing Legislation published this week, saying it “is totally at odds with the express wishes of adoptees and mothers, many of whom live here in Kilkenny”.  

Carlow-Kilkenny TD Kathleen Funchion, who is also Sinn Féin spokesperson on children and Chair of Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children, accused Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman of not listening to “adoptees, mothers or their advocates”.

Deputy Funchion said: “What I find most disappointing is the deliberate ploy by Government to spin today’s announcement as a win for adoptees and mothers in Kilkenny, but the reality is this is no win. They have not been listened too.

“Today should have marked an historic moment for adoptees in the long and exhausting journey they have travelled, in gaining full and unfettered access to their records and birth information – but again they have been met with another government bill that will not deliver.

“I am particularly disappointed around the requirement for mandatory information sessions, on initial 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.”

The Kilkenny TD said she is concerned that “red line issues for adoptees” such as unrestricted access to birth certs and information has not been provided for in the proposed legislation.

She added: “I cannot comprehend how key recommendations from the Joint Oireachtas Children’s Committee Report, which I chair have not factored 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, and I believe 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 too and their wishes acted on.

“The bill will now come before the same Oireachtas Children’s Committee, and 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 across Kilkenny that I and my colleagues will work to ensure this legislation upholds their human rights.”

Deputy Funchion (pictured below) commended all adoptees, mothers, survivors, their families and advocates living in Kilkenny “for their unending and relentless pursuit of justice”.

She added: “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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