Coalition rejects Taoiseach's assertion it is too early for redress or free DNA tests over adoption scandal

Leo Varadkar has said those caught up in the scandal want information, not money

Coalition rejects Taoiseach's assertion it is too early for redress or free DNA tests over adoption scandal

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at a press briefing for the launch of Ireland Project 2040 | Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

The Coalition of Mother And Baby Home Survivors (CMABS) has rejected Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's assertion that it is too early to consider redress or free DNA tests for those affected by the illegal adoption scandal.

Some 126 people had their adoptive parents registered as their birth parents, and may not know they are adopted at all.

Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Varadkar said: "I think it's far too early to be talking about things like DNA tests or redress schemes.

"The sense that I have from people who have been affected by this is they're not looking for money from the taxpayer or they're not looking for retribution: they're looking for information about their identities.

"They want to know who they are, they want to know what their birth story is".

But the CMABS said: "Once again, the Government's instant response to survivors and victims is to fob them off and began the endless series of excuses, stalling, scoping exercises and sub committees, while illegally adopted people and their natural mothers continue to die by the hundreds.

"CMABS notes for the record that despite extensive lobbying by campaigners, Minister Zappone has already rejected including illegally adopted people in the current Inquiry into Mother and Baby homes and related matters.

"Illegally adopted people are the victims of crime and as such, have a right to 'legal remedy' under domestic and international law.

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone announced details of the illegal adoptions on Tuesday | Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

"Minister Zappone has denied illegal adoptees and their natural mothers this most basic human and civil right, and now continues to do so with the support of an uncaring Taoiseach."

The CMABS is an umbrella group made up of Adoption Rights Now, the Bethany Home Survivors, Beyond Adoption Ireland, Adopted Illegally Ireland and the Castlepollard Mother & Baby home group.

While the Bethany Home Survivors Group is describing the Taoiseach's step to carry out a sampling exercise of other adoption agencies as a step in the right direction.

Chairperson Derek Leinster said it is good that Mr Varadkar is going to do something.

"It's good that he's now recognising and it's a step in the right direction if he says he's going to looking into other adoption things.

"You know something: it needs to be looked into very severely".

While speaking to Newstalk on Wednesday, Minister Zappone said the scandal was uncovered by Tusla workers who found index cards on top of files.

"The Tusla child and family agency over the last couple of months have been working on files, looking at files from the St Patrick's Guild Society - one of the largest adoption societies in the history of the country - and in the course of that work effectively they found some language on index cards that sat on top of the files that said 'Adopted from birth' for certain individuals.

"That led them to suspect that it may mean that that person could have been effectively placed with a couple and registered as if that person were their own.

"And then what happened next is they did a lot of additional research in relation to the files, crossed-checked it with adoption authority people, brought in also the Registrar's Office.

"And as a result of all of that work, last week confirmed to me that they had really hard evidence that 126 indivisibles who were born between the years of 1946 and 1969 were placed with families as if they were their own."

A freecall helpline number has been set up by Tusla for people concerned on 1800-805-665.

The helpline is open from 10.00am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday.