THE daughter of a GP who arranged illegal adoptions has said she doesn't know how many children were given to prospective parents by her mother – but described her as a "heroine" for her actions.
Marie McDermott said she was away in university while the late Co Monaghan doctor Irene Creedon helped parents adopt the children, who were registered as being born in her surgery in Carrickmacross.
She says that she is "so upset" that Dr Creedon – who died 10 years ago – is now being remembered for the controversial adoptions.
Ms McDermott was commenting after one of the adopted children spoke out about her illegal adoption, and how it had made it almost impossible for her to find out who her birth parents are.
Margaret Norton (40) told how her adoptive parents collected her from the car park of a Co Louth hotel three days after she was born in 1972.
The only clue as to where her parents were from was that her birth was registered at Dr Creedon's office: 31 O'Neill Street, Carrickmacross.
Her adoptive parents – who both died last year – were wrongly recorded as being her birth parents on her birth certificate.
Ms Norton told the Irish Independent that since starting her campaign to find her birth parents, five other people have contacted her to say they suspect Dr Creedon arranged their adoptions without the knowledge of the proper authorities.
The GP's daughter confirmed that she was aware her mother had arranged the unofficial adoptions.
Asked last night if she knew how many adoptions took place, she said: "I haven't a clue. I was away at university, I was away married in England."
She said she stood by comments describing her mother "a heroine" and said: "Lots of girls had babies who were hidden or given away back then. It was very sad and people were ashamed. Mammy helped a lot of those people."
She had explained that "paperwork wasn't something they were strict about back then", adding: "That's changed for the better.
"It was different times. She did wonderful work and I'm so upset that this is her 10th anniversary present."
She said: "Some people don't want to be found but I do understand that people have a right to know who they are."
Ms Norton, meanwhile, hopes to make contact with her birth parents but is facing extreme difficulty in doing so. She told the Irish Independent that she had "no animosity" towards anyone involved in her adoption including Dr Creedon, because – as she put it – "I think everybody was trying to do the right thing."
She said her only misgiving was that the GP "didn't have the foresight to see that down the line here there might be a problem."
She said: "That's why I think the finger is to be pointed. Not at what she was doing, but at the fact that nobody looked far enough ahead."
Mr Norton was adopted by a couple living in Dublin, but said her adoptive parents knew about the service offered by the Carrickmacross doctor because her adoptive mother was from the region.
Regarding her birth mother, she said: "I genuinely feel she did what she felt she had to do at the time."
She added: "I suppose the doctor did what she felt she had to do and then my adoptive parents were only delighted.
"I have no animosity towards anybody involved, absolutely none, because like I said – and I can't say this often enough – I've had a very privileged life."
She has spoken anonymously on local and national radio in recent months, appealing for her birth parents to contact her.
According to Ms Norton – who was told at an early age that she had been adopted – she became more curious about them as she grew older, saying: "It's just human instinct to want to know where you came from.
"The only message I would have for her (my mother) is that she would be brave enough to make contact with me anonymously if she needs to."