Belfast Telegraph

MLA calls for probe into non-voluntary adoptions at Irish homes

By Adrian Rutherford

An ongoing review of mother and baby homes must investigate claims of non-voluntary adoptions, an MLA has said.

A BBC investigation broadcast last night reported allegations about cross-border adoptions at a home run by Catholic nuns in Northern Ireland.

It included claims that some children may have been moved out of the UK without their mothers' consent from Marianvale mother and baby home. The facility in Newry operated between 1955 and 1984. One woman was issued with three birth certificates in three countries.

The Catholic Good Shepherd Sisters said adoptions were "conducted strictly in accordance with the legislation".

Mid-Ulster MLA Linda Dillon said the claims, in the Radio 4 programme 'The Lost Children of Marianvale', were no surprise.

She said: "In my engagements with many who have been through the mother and baby homes, it became clear that the rights of mothers and children were routinely ignored by those in authority.

"The issue of multiple birth certificates and children being routinely moved to other countries has been a key feature in what survivors have spoken about."

In January the Department of Health said it had commissioned research on mother and baby homes and Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland.

Ms Dillon added: "I have made it clear to the Department of Health, the sponsor department for the review of the mother and baby homes, that the whole issue of the removal of children from their mothers without consent must be a part of their work.

"There is a clear onus on everyone who has information about what took place in the mother and baby homes to bring it forward to help end the anguish that so many families are still suffering."

Patrick Corrigan, the Northern Ireland programme director of Amnesty International, called for an independent inquiry into the allegations.

Belfast Telegraph

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