'Adopted people should have a right to their birth certificates': Mother and Baby home report makes 53 recommendations

'Adopted people should have a right to their birth certificates': Mother and Baby home report makes 53 recommendations

Publication of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission Report An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, T.D with Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O'Gorman T.D and Minister of State at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth with responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte T.D hold a live video link with survivors and stakeholders at Government Buildings ahead of the press briefing. Pic: Julien Behal

The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes published its report on Tuesday.

It investigated decades of harm caused to women and children at the hands of religious-run mother and baby homes in Ireland.

The commission said: "The commission, however, considers that there is evidence of some abuse of children in a number of the institutions.

"The commission has not heard any evidence of sexual abuse of child residents.

"It has heard some evidence of physical abuse which, while unacceptable, was minor in comparison to the evidence of physical abuse documented in the Ryan Report."

The mother and baby homes report has found that responsibility for the harsh treatment of unmarried mothers in Ireland lies mainly with "their own immediate families".

It states: "Women who gave birth outside marriage were subject to particularly harsh treatment.

"Responsibility for that harsh treatment rests mainly with the fathers of their children and their own immediate families. It was supported by, contributed to, and condoned by, the institutions of the State and the churches.

"However, it must be acknowledged that the institutions under investigation provided a refuge - a harsh refuge in some cases - when the families provided no refuge at all."

The report made 53 recommendations.

They surrounded issues including compensation and memorialisation.

The commission defended the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) and its approach to providing information to adopted people.

"This criticism is unfair and misplaced," it said.

"Tusla is implementing the law and has no choice about doing so.

"The problem is not with Tusla; it is with the law.

"Any other agency providing information and tracing services would be in the same position."

Unrestricted access to birth information for adopted people is one issue considered by the commission.

It said: "Adopted people should have a right to their birth certificates and associated birth information.

"A person's right to his or her identity is an important human right and should only be denied in very exceptional circumstances.

"Medical information and adoption records compiled at the time of the adoption should also be available.

"A mechanism could be put in place to allow a birth mother to argue that her privacy rights are being eroded."

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