07/06/2018 - Incorrect Registrations of Birth: New Evidence in St Patrick Guild Records
On Tuesday 29th May, Minister Katherine Zappone made a statement in relation to 126 cases where births were incorrectly registered between 1946 and 1969 had been identified by TUSLA, the Child and Family Agency. These cases were identified during an analysis of the adoption records transferred to Tusla by the former adoption society
St Patrick’s Guild, which show irregularities in the birth registration process. Tusla will be making contact with people in these 126 cases where births were incorrectly registered.
On this highly sensitive and personal matter Minister Zappone said:
“We have known about the practice of incorrect registrations for many years, but it has been extremely difficult to identify and prove in individual cases because of the deliberate failure of those involved to keep records. However, Tusla has found clear evidence in the case of some records previously held by St Patrick’s Guild.”
In light of the information from the St Patrick’s Guild records, the Minister has directed that further investigations be carried out now to see if clear evidence of incorrect registrations can be obtained from the records of other former adoption agencies now held by Tusla or the Adoption Authority.
The Minister said that the terms of reference for the review would be published shortly, and the timescale for the work would be agreed. The aim would be to complete this process within four months of the work commencing. This process will be overseen and quality assured by an Independent Reviewer, Ms Marion Reynolds, who is a former Deputy Director of Social Services in Northern Ireland.
Minister Zappone commented:
“This is a very serious and sensitive issue. People have the right to know of their true origins and, where we have clear evidence, I believe we have an obligation to tell the people affected. Some may know already, but for others it will be entirely new and very difficult information indeed"
The Minister noted that Tusla has notified the Commission on Mother and Baby Homes, and transferred relevant records to it. Tusla has also notified An Garda Siochana and is liaisisng with them.
Minister Zappones full statement on the matter can be found on the Department’s website at www.dcya.ie.
In addition, Tusla is operating a Free-phone number 1800 805 665 between 10am and 4pm on weekdays.
Selection Panel Appointment
Minister Zappone has appointed Ms Sharon Smyth, a founding member of the recently formed Birth Mothers Ireland, to the Selection Panel after a vacancy had emerged in recent weeks. The Minister hopes that this process will be concluded quickly to allow the Forum to begin its important work.
Collaborative Forum: Expressions of Interest
There has been a significant level of interest in this process from a diverse range of individuals. Minister Katherine Zappone would like to thank all who have taken the time to express an interest in becoming a member of the Forum.
The closing date for applications was Wednesday 30th May and anyone who has made an application should expect to receive confirmation in the coming days.
The Selection Panel will be meeting next week to examine the expressions of interest and begin the selection process. It is expected that this process will be concluded quickly and all candidates will be contacted once the Panel has made its decision.
In early May the Inter-Departmental Group to co-ordinate action in relation to the Tuam site met at DCYA buildings.
The Inter-Departmental Group will convene again shortly before reporting to the Minister.
Meeting with Special Rapporteure
In May Minister Zappone met with the UN Special Rapporteur on Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children, Ms Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, who visited Ireland to look at the systems in place for child protection. The Minister discussed a broad range of matters with the Special Rapporteur including issues related to Mother and Baby Homes. On the matter of the Governments invitation to the newly appointed UN Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparation and the Guarantee of non-recurrence Mr Fabian Salvioli, Ms Maud de Boer-Buquicchio highlighted that such a visit could provide an opportunity to examine how past historical abuse including forced/illegal adoption might be best addressed. The Special Rapporteur’s Report is due to be submitted in March 2019 to the Human Rights Council.