Laois county councillors demand identity rights for adopted people

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Laois County Councillors request equal identity rights for adopted people

Laois County Councillors request equal identity rights for adopted people

Two Laois councillors are calling for the Minister for children Katherine Zappone to give Irish adopted people the right to their own birth records and medical history.

Sinn Féin councillors Aidan Mullins and Caroline Dwane Stanley tabled a joint motion to the February meeting of Laois County Council, on behalf of Aitheantas, a group campaigning for adoptee identity rights.

“Unlike all other Irish citizens, adopted people have no statutory rights to their own birth certs.  When asked for their family medical history, they have to reply ‘I don’t know’. It affects their children and grandchildren. Access to your own birth cert is a matter of dignity and equality. This discriminating policy is in stark contrast to Northern Ireland where 30 years ago they were given the right to get their birth certs,” said Cllr Mullins.

“There is a widespread myth that birth mothers were promised confidentiality. Not a shred of evidence has ever been produced that this was the case. 95% of birth mothers want to meet their adult children,” said Cllr Dwane Stanley.

The motion was seconded by Cllr Noel Tuohy.

“There is so much that adopted people have to deal with. They deserve to know who they are,” he said.

The Cathaoirleach Cllr John King agreed.

“On the programme Long Lost Families it is hard enough for them to look up their families. When they do find them you see the joy in their hearts,” he said.

Aitheantas is asking all county councillors to table motions to their local authorities to write to Minister Zappone’s Department of Children and Youth Affairs to give adopted people a statutory right to their birth certs, adoption files, medical history and family heritage, in line with equality of all other citizens.

Offaly, Cork, Donegal, and Clare county councils have all passed the motion.