St Patrick’s Guild 126 incorrect adoption records discovered

St Patricks Guild 126 incorrect adoption records discovered
Minister Zappone. Photo Leah Farrell/

Adoption society St Patrick’s Guild incorrectly registered at least 126 people

The child and family agency Tusla has said 126 people were incorrectly registered at birth between 1946 and 1969 by the former adoption society St Patrick’s Guild.

The incorrect registrations mean some people placed by the agency during that time had incorrect information registered on their birth certificates. In some cases the files were registered as if children had been born to adoptive parents.

The issue came to light during an analysis of adoption records, which showed irregularities in the birth registration process.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone said that following an initial examination of around 13,500 records from St Patrick’s Guild, Tusla was able to identify the incorrect registrations because, unusually, there was a marker specifying “adopted from birth” on the record.

A statement from the guild said that “there are no sisters alive today who would have had anything to do with the adoptions referred to in Minister Zappone’s statement. For the past 20 years, St Patrick’s Guild has provided an information and tracing service and any enquiry by a birth parent or adopted child was treated in the same way.”

Minister Zappone also said that a further examination would be carried out to see if other former adoption agencies have “clear evidence of incorrect registrations”.

“I suspect every single adoption agency in the country is involved, that’s 150,000 babies, it would be amazing if at least ten per cent of them were not illegal.” chief executive of children’s charity Barnardos, Fergus Finlay said.

St Patricks Guild 126 incorrect adoption records discovered
Leo Varadkar

The Taoiseach Mr Varadkar told reporters in Dublin: “Some people will know this already, but they won’t all.

“We think it’s right and appropriate to share that information with the people who were affected, those people now in their 50s, 60s and 70s who were adopted in this way and that is going to be difficult.

“Some people will find out that they were adopted in this way having thought for the past 50 or 60 years that they were the natural child of the people who brought them up and it’s going to be really difficult for those parents who did bring up those people. These are people now in their 70s, 80s and 90s who are going to have to have a really difficult conversation with the children they brought up. This really needs to be (handled) with the ultimate sensitivity in the period ahead.”

“Documentary evidence was found of these illegal registrations, it has been difficult to identify in the past precisely because it was concealed and there were no records, or there were fake records.”

Labour TD Joan Burton has called on the Government to urgently address the implementation of adoption tracing legislation.

She said: “As an adopted person, I would encourage the Government, particularly in the context of recent referendums, to reconsider their approach to adoption information rights and to lift what is one of the last veils of secrecy.

“It sometimes seems that adult adopted people will be the last people to get full personal rights in this country.”

In a press release, the survivor and adoptee communities making up the Coalition of Mother And Baby home Survivors has demanded immediate action to tackle this issue.

They said “Theresa Hiney, ‘Adopted Illegally Ireland’, and the ‘Coalition of Mother And Baby homes Survivors’ renew our years old joint call for a dedicated unit made up of civil servants, Gardai and social workers, to actively investigate this matter and inform illegal adoptees of their status.”


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