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Tusla’s involvement in granting adoptees birth information leaves rights group with ‘little faith’ in new service

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Susan Lohan, co-founder of the Adoption Rights Alliance said the involvement of Túsla leaves adoptees with little faith in new service. Photo: Fintan Clarke.

Susan Lohan, co-founder of the Adoption Rights Alliance said the involvement of Túsla leaves adoptees with little faith in new service. Photo: Fintan Clarke.

Susan Lohan, co-founder of the Adoption Rights Alliance said the involvement of Túsla leaves adoptees with little faith in new service. Photo: Fintan Clarke.

Adopted people for the first time have a legal right to their own birth information – but an adoption rights group say they have very little faith in the service due to Tusla’s involvement.

Access to personal identity information for adopted people is a “significant” improvement but the involvement of Tusla is a big concern leaving the Adoption Rights Alliance with little faith it will work, co-founder Susan Lohan said.

Ms Lohan said Tusla spent decades denying adopted people the information they are now being tasked to source and divulge.

“It does represent an improvement but it’s not one I have particular faith in being delivered. My scepticism centres around Tusla...they’re particularly unsuited to deliver the service behind the legislation.

“They’re very under-resourced, they are undertrained in the area of family tracing.

“My main misgiving behind Tusla being behind the delivery of the service is that they have spent decades denying adopted people this information when there was no legal basis for them to do so,” Susan told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman acknowledged there need to be a change in culture in organisations like Tusla towards one where information is given rather than withheld.

Minister O’Gorman said there have been staff hired to assist in the tracing element and people “with expertise in genealogy” brought in to assist in the process of reuniting adopted children with their birth family.

“They are finally entitled to a full legal right to access their own information. That includes their birth cert, birth information, medical and early life information.

“Importantly, if an adopted person has passed away, their relatives may use the system to find out their information as well.

“We’ve created a new tracing service so an adopted person, or birth parents of an adopted person can indicate if they would like to meet up or exchange information with each other through this system,” Minister O’Gorman told Morning Ireland.

The minister said there will be supports such as counselling offered to people who encounter distress due to the process of trying to reconnect with family through this system. The minister said there are 16,600 people on the contact register and only 400 have indicated so far that they do not wish to have any contact with their parent[s] or child[ren].

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