Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power has welcomed the Government’s decision not to oppose her Adoption Information bill in the Seanad tomorrow and reiterated the need for it to be enacted as soon as possible.
The bill would give adoptees a right to their birth certs, listing their original names and their natural parents’ names. It will also establish a process through which adoptees and natural parents may contact each other if they wish.
“I welcome the Government’s decision not to oppose the bill and look forward to working with them to get it enacted into law as soon as possible”, Senator Power said today. Reacting to Minister Reilly’s statement that it would be referred to the health committee, she said “I would very much welcome the committee’s input as the bill goes through the Oireachtas. However, it is vital that the legislation is not delayed. Too many people are relying on us to make this change”, she said.
Dubbing the bill ‘Philomena’s law’, Senator Power paid credit to Philomena Lee, the 81-year old woman whose 50-year search for her son Anthony attracted worldwide attention through the movie ‘Philomena’.
“Philomena’s brave decision to tell her story touched all of our hearts. People were rightly outraged that her son Anthony died believing she had rejected him when this couldn’t have been further from the truth. Not only had she not wanted to part from him in the first place, she spent fifty years trying to find him, only to be refused information and lied to by the nuns who handled the adoption. Unfortunately, this new law is too late for Philomena and Anthony but it will help other mothers who were separated from their sons or daughters through adoption and wish to reunite”, she said.
Senator Power, who was adopted as a baby, said that the bill “would also make a huge difference to 50,000 Irish adoptees who for too long have been denied basic information about themselves that everyone else takes for granted.”
She thanked independent Senators Jillian van Turnhout and Fidelma Healy Eames for seconding the bill and said she was grateful for the support it has received from TDs and Senators of all parties and none. She said it was an “an example of politics at its best”. “By putting aside party differences and working together, we can make a real difference to people’s lives”, she concluded.