“An absolute nightmare…stonewalled and lied to at every turn.” This is an adoptee’s experience of their interaction with the agencies who are entrusted with adoptees’ information in Ireland, according to recent research conducted by Aitheantas. Tusla was also the subject of ‘vitrolic’ criticism in the final report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, recently.
Commenting today (15.06.21) on the apology from Tusla, Maree Ryan-O’Brien, founder of Aitheantas, said: “While an apology from Tusla is welcomed as a long overdue acknowledgement of the ‘hurt’ caused to adoptees, in their role as trustees of this personal information, it signals no significant material change in their social work model. A model which has failed in their dealings with adoptees, and a model which adoptees no longer trust and cannot be expected to re-engage with.
“This apology underlines how unfit for purpose the Child and Family Agency, Tusla is, in the context of dealing with adoptees and their attempts to access information. Mr. Gloster accepts that Tusla was the main state agency dealing with ‘a weak legal framework’ in which adoptees sought to access their identity information. This framework and this agency do not work. It is clear in his apology that they were ineffective in allowing adoptees to access their identity information.
“Mr. Gloster reiterates the findings of the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes in blaming the law for the behaviour of Tusla. However, 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.
“This apology is an admission of wrongdoing, and while it is welcome in that regard, it just further emphasises the urgent need for a different agency, separate to Tusla and the Adoption Authority of Ireland, to take matters forward. It is not acceptable to have the same agencies preside over a new system of information and tracing for adoptees, in order for adoptees to ratify their constitutional right to identity.
“In light of this apology, we reiterate our call for a new agency and a new social work model to handle all matters relating to information and tracing, and all matters concerning historical domestic adoption.”
Contact: Maree Ryan-O’Brien, Founder, Aitheantas Adoptee Identity Rights. Email: [email protected].
Notes to Editor:
Aitheantas campaigns to give Irish adoptees access to their own information on health, heritage and history, and acknowledgment of their identity rights. Further information is available at: www.adopteerights.ie or by following Aitheantas on Twitter, @Aitheantas.