Access Denied


From top: Philomena Lee and her daughter Jane Libberton in 2014 at the graveside at Sean Ross Abbey, Roscrea, County Tipperary at a private memorial for her son Anthony Lee (Michael Hess) who was lost to her by forced adoption in the mid 1950s; The new bill which denies access for children adopted or trafficked from Mother and Baby homes access  to their files;

This afternoon.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has released the text of the Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and certain related Matters) Records, and another Matter, Bill 2020.

The bill, which allows for the deposit of all files secured from the religious orders to be handed over to Tusla, will make it illegal to let children born at the homes view their own files.

Tuam Mother and Baby Home Alliance PRO Breeda Murphy writes:

‘To the people to whom this information pertains, in first instance, the survivor – is not entitled to that information themselves, yet a third party, i.e. a Social Worker sitting opposite them can open their record and in front of them deny access.

Privacy rights (of birth mother) trump right to identity. Take the case of Philomena Lee looking for her son (whose name she did not know) while at the same time he, Michael Hess had travelled to Ireland in the hope of being reunited with his mother. Not just the state but the religious order in Philomena’s case, kept them apart during his life.’


This afternoon.

Fergus Finlay hosts a webinar with Carmel McDonnell Byrne, survivor and founder of the Christine Buckley Centre, Francis Treanor, survivor and board member of Caranua and Right of Place Second Chance and Professor Alan Carr, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University College Dublin.

The panel discuss ‘Facing the future together: Discussing Ireland’s lifelong responsibility to the survivors of institutional abuse’, a repoirt compiled Christine Buckley Centre for Education and Support, Barnardo’s Origins, Caranua, One in Four, HSE National Counselling Service, Right of Place Second Chance and Towards Healing.


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16 thoughts on “Access Denied

  1. gringo

    The State and the religious orders remain joined at the hip and will continue to stonewall until all the survivors are dead. If the covid takes them sooner, well, thats alright too.

  2. Cian

    I’m not a lawyer, but doesn’t it say that the records CAN be accessed under the usual Data Protection?

    Restriction on processing of certain records
    3. (1) It shall not be lawful for the Agency to process
    (a) such part or parts of the database as contain information compiled from a related record referred to in paragraph (b),
    (b) any related record deposited with the Agency in accordance with section 2 that was given to the Commission by a person other than the Agency, or
    (c) any information contained in any such part of the database or any such related record,
    unless the processing of any such part, any such related record or any such information is
    (i) subject to subsection (2), for a legitimate purpose, or
    (ii) authorised or required by or under the Data Protection Regulation, the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018 or any other enactment (other than this Act).
    (my emphasis)

  3. Kingfisher

    Just stop it. People must have access to their birth records, not only because it’s unjust to deprive them of this vital self-knowledge, but also for reasons of health. Say you’re adopted and you don’t know you’ve got a genetic risk of breast cancer, or sickle cell anaemia, or autoimmune arthritis – stopping you from finding your birth parents can put you at extreme risk.

    1. H

      + 1

      I was given early access to mammograms after my family history of breast cancer was revealed to me when I traced my birth mother

  4. Ger O'Connor

    The magliancy at the core to the Irish state since the 30s demonstrated by this abomination.

    While everyone is distracted by the virus the true evil of the state surfaces.

  5. Mick

    I’m adopted and am very lucky to have found my birth family…. and all are happy..
    I think it’s disgusting that anyone or any process should get in the way of that.

  6. H

    I was born in Sean Ross Abbey and I am not elderly – and how would that make a difference anyway?

    What the actual?

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