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Burton searched for birth mother 'but it was too late'

DUBLIN TD Joan Burton spent almost 20 years searching for her birth mother but never managed to make contact before she passed away.

Ms Burton has been part of a campaign to assist adoptees to get copies of their birth certificate in a bid to make the tracing process easier.

The Labour finance spokesperson was put up for adoption three months after her birth to an unmarried woman in 1949.

But when she went searching for her mother before her marriage in 1975, she came up against a brick wall.

"I went in to the offices to ask whether a letter could go to my birth family just to say that I was getting married, that I was alive and that I was all right," she said.

"The answer was 'No'."

She reignited her search after her daughter Aoife was born.

It wasn't until she met with the Adopted People Association that she had some luck, but tragically it was too late.

"Finally I made contact in the US with my mother's brother," she revealed.

"It turned out she had been alive when I got married and when my daughter was born, but she had died in early 1990."

Ms Burton is supporting the push for a bill with the Department of Health to introduce new laws that will make it easy for adopted people to find their biological parents.

Figures released from the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) outline that, of 485 applications received between 2004 and 2009 from adoptees, only 244 were released.

Currently adopted people have no legal entitlement on their birth certificate or other personal or medical information in their adoption file.

The 1952 Adoption Act introduced a 'clean break' aspect to the process, which ensures that the mother has a right to privacy.

A new bill has been promised to deal with this situation, but there has been no date set for its publication.