Wednesday 18 July 2018

Man (57) at centre of illegal adoption case says he would never be in court 'if people had done their job'

Tressa Donnelly Reeves and her son Andre Reeves, who was previously named Patrick Farrell, at the High Court. Picture: PA
Tressa Donnelly Reeves and her son Andre Reeves, who was previously named Patrick Farrell, at the High Court. Picture: PA

Tim Healy

A man who is suing the State and a Catholic adoption agency over his illegal adoption has said he would never have had to come to court "if people had done their job" when he was born.

Patrick 'Paddy' Farell told Mr Justice Denis McDonald that had he been legally adopted he would not have suffered a fraction of the distress he has had to endure.  

He was under cross-examination on the third day of an action by him and his birth mother, Tressa Reeves, against St Patrick's Guild (Incorporated) adoption society, which was run by nuns, and against the State. The defendants deny the claims.

Mr Farrell told the court that meeting his mother, sisters and other family members was "a blessing".

However, he said he should have had knowledge about matters long before he was informed that he was illegally adopted by an official with the Adoption Authority of Ireland in late 2012.

Mr Farrell aka Andre Donnelly was born to Tressa Reeves at a clinic on March 13th, 1961.

Days later he was placed with a family at Liscolman, Tullow, Co Carlow and given the name Patrick Farrell by the now deceased Jim, who regularly physically abused him, and Maeve Farrell.  

His birth mother, Mrs Reeves, spent decades looking for him and they were reunited in 2013. 

Under questioning from Felix McEnroy SC, for the Guild, Mr Farrell said he did know his adoptive mother, Maeve Farrell, had been contacted by St Patricks from 1997 onwards in regard to his birth mothers' search.   

When John Rogers SC for the State put it to him that what had happened in this instance was a "legacy of the past," Mr Farrell said what occurred was "morally wrong". 

Mr Farrell said a medical report found he had suffered something similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after being told about being illegally adopted. 

He said he is doing as well as could be expected given the circumstances. 

Mr Farrell accepted Maeve Farrell had voiced strong opposition to a nun at St Patrick's to him being told about his true origins or that his birth mother was searching for him. 

The court heard the nun recorded details of contact she had with Mrs Farrell informing her that Mrs Reeves wanted to make contact with him. 

Mrs Farrell, who described Patrick as being vulnerable, was against telling him he was adopted and said he had moved to Australia. 

Mr Farrell said he has never been to Australia. 

Mr Farrell said that it appeared to him that counsel (Mr Rogers) was trying to put all the blame of what happened on Maeve Farrell.

He did not accept that was the case and said she was "not the devil incarnate." 

Mr Rogers said he was not trying to put the blame on Mrs Farrell but was putting questions to him based on the evidence before the court. 

In her direct evidence, Mrs Reeves said she was never asked for a statement by the Gardai when they were investigating complaints made by her or by the now Adoption Authority of Ireland.  

She told the court that she corresponded with St Patricks Guild from 1997. While the nun she was dealing with was always pleasant, she said she was never given any real information.  

The case continues. 

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