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Adoptees relying on baptismal cert as they have no birth cert 


Bernard Gloster

Bernard Gloster

Bernard Gloster

Adopted people who do not have access to their birth certificates are relying instead on baptismal documents, TDs and senators have been told.

The Oireachtas Children’s Committee heard yesterday that adopted people who were boarded out may not have their original birth certificates and are using baptismal certificates instead when it comes to applying for certain documentation.

Siobhán Mugan, the national manager for adoption at Tusla, told the committee that adopted people who were boarded out are using baptismal certificates and do not have any access to their original birth certificates. 

“We have noted in the area of the children who were boarded out, in particular, that they actually may not have had a birth cert issued and they were relying on a baptismal cert,” she said.

She was appearing before the committee as part of pre-legislative scrutiny of the Birth Information and Tracing Bill, which would ensure adoptees have access to their birth certificates.

Ms Mugan said it is crucial that the legislation also refers to children who were boarded out abroad so they can access their birth certificates.

“That’s why I think it’s important that this legislation actually refers to them as well, because the baptismal cert wouldn’t have had the information in relation to their original birth family on it,” she said.

“It’s important that they’re given that availability to access the records in order to get the information in order to get a birth certificate. Generally, they do have a baptismal cert. If they were boarded out, we have the boarded-out records and they can apply to us for the information.”

Child and family agency Tusla also apologised to adopted people who were hurt in their dealings with the agency when seeking information about their identity.

Appearing before the committee, Tusla CEO Bernard Gloster issued the apology and said: “I am acutely aware of the expressed hurt and distress of many in that debate, most notably adopted people, those with a false, illegal or incorrect birth registration and many who were nursed out, boarded out or placed in pre-adoptive foster care.

“They, along with others who were born in or resided in certain institutions, have in many cases sought access to their identity and birth/early life information in what can be best described as a weak legal framework.

“Tusla in recent years was in the main the state agency which had to represent that complex legal position, resulting in many people not having access to their identity and all that flows from that.”

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Adoptee rights group Aith- eantas welcomed the apology, but said Tusla was “unfit for purpose” and a new agency should be established.

Aitheantas founder Maree Ryan-O’Brien said it was not the legal position that Tusla found itself in that caused pain to adoptees, but how they were treated by staff.

She said: “As we have stated, many times, it was not the restrictions in the law that caused most offence to adoptees, it was the behaviour of many social workers and other Tusla staff which has caused most hurt.”

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