Saturday 23 September 2017

Support for new law on adoption is urged

Philomena Lee. Picture: Gerry Mooney.
Philomena Lee. Picture: Gerry Mooney.
John Downing

John Downing

THE woman who inspired the hit film 'Philomena' has urged support for a draft law to help adopted children trace their birth parents.

Philomena Lee, about whom the movie 'Philomena' was made, yesterday issued a statement calling on all Senators to support the Adoption (Identity and Information) Bill 2014. The bill is proposed by Fianna Fail Senator Averil Power, and Independents Jillian van Turnhout and Fidelma Healy Eames, and will be debated in the Seanad on Wednesday.

In a frank statement, Philomena said that if such legislation had been in place years ago she would have been reunited with her son Anthony before he died.

"Instead, he died believing I had rejected him," she said.

She added, "It is too late for us, but would be a big help to other women who were separated from their sons and daughters by adoption."

Senator Power said the Government should listen to Philomena and ensure other women are spared the pain of what she went through.

"I have been contacted by many other women like Philomena. They were devastated to lose their children in the first place and are heartbroken that they still can't make contact with them now. They just want to know that their son or daughter is okay and tell them they never stopped thinking about them. Older women in particular are worried that if legislation isn't brought in soon it will be too late for them.

"The Government has an opportunity next Wednesday to do right by these women by finally putting in place a proper system through which adoptees and natural parents may reunite if they wish. I hope they will accept our bill and work with us to ensure women like Philomena finally get the support they deserve," Senator Power added.

The 2013 film 'Philomena' tells the true story of Philomena's 50-year-long search for her forcibly adopted son, and other's efforts to help her find him.

The film, which was co-produced in the United States and the United Kingdom, won several international film awards and was a box-office hit.

The actors included Steve Coogan and Judi Dench. Philomena became well known to the public and many people were moved by her story which led other case histories to come to light.

Irish Independent

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