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Tusla chief to apologise to adopted people ‘hurt’ as they sought information about birth families

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Tusla chief executive Bernard Gloster

Tusla chief executive Bernard Gloster

Tusla chief executive Bernard Gloster

The Child and Family Agency (Tusla) will tomorrow apologise to adopted people who were hurt in their dealings with the agency when seeking information about their identity.

Appearing before the Oireachtas Children’s Committee, Tusla chief executive Bernard Gloster will tomorrow issue an apology to adopted people and say that the State agency felt in recent years that it had to represent a “complex legal position” which saw “people not having access to their identity”.

“I recognise that many people were left with hurt and a sense of being let down by the State in their search for answers to the most basic questions,” Mr Gloster will tell TDs and senators at tomorrow’s meeting.

“To whatever extent any person attributes that hurt to their dealings with Tusla, I offer a sincere apology. Whether limited by law or any other circumstance it would never be our wish that any person would be left with such disappointment in their dealings with the agency.”

He will also say in his opening remarks to the Committee that he is “acutely aware” of the “expressed hurt and distress” of people who were seeking access to information held by Tusla.

He will say that adopted people, as well as people who were born in or who lived in institutions, have sought access to their identity “in what can be best described as a weak legal framework”

According to the chief executive, 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”.

“Notwithstanding the findings of the Mother and Baby Home Commission on this particular aspect, namely that any State agency would have been in the same position, I recognise that many people were left with hurt and a sense of being let down by the State in their search for answers to the most basic questions.”

Mr Gloster will address the Committee as part of scrutiny into Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman’s legislation which will see adopted people have access to their birth certs.

Mr Gloster will say that the agency held around 70,000 records prior to receiving the Mother and Baby Home Commission database.

There were 44,862 adoptions in Ireland between 1953 and 2019.

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s the annual number of adoptions was consistently above 1,000, but the numbers have steadily decreased, to 79 in 2019.

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