Seanad debates

Friday, 20 December 2013

Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2013: Second Stage


10:10 am

Photo of Mary WhiteMary White (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

Yesterday morning on the Order of Business I congratulated the Minister on her magnificent efforts in achieving what is proposed in this Bill. Our purpose as politicians is to bring about change in society. Many times in the past I have had difficulty with Fianna Fáil listening to the civil servants surrounding them rather than make its own political decisions. I am not casting any aspirations on the civil servants currently in the Seanad. I have been elected three times to the Seanad, twice when Fianna Fáil was in government, during which time I was aware of the delays in certain things being done.

I have known the Minister for many years. As far as I am concerned, as a politician her name is carved in stone. The Minister has had the courage and passion to address this issue, often having to overcome many hurdles in doing so. I do not have adequate words to describe the pain, anguish and yearning of the families waiting to adopt these children. I am so impressed with what the Minister has done. She was a brilliant leader of the Opposition in the Seanad. I am not surprised she was appointed a Minister in this Government. She was an outstanding leader for the Opposition in the Seanad and has now delivered the goods in terms of the changes in this area. We need more of that.

I was asked by two members of the families concerned, Lisa Fennessy and Pamela O'Reilly, to express their gratitude and appreciation to the Minister and the many others involved in this issue. Lisa told me yesterday that when she asked her son, Lee, if he would like to have a little brother called Alex the joy and excitement in his little eyes immediately melted away all the stress and hardship endured by her family over the past six months. She asked me to thank the Minister for her courage, bravery and compassion in bringing forward this legislation. She and Pamela also asked that I thank Senator Feargal Quinn, whom I note is in the House, Senator Maurice Cummins, Leader of the House and Senators John Gilroy, Cáit Keane and Paul Bradford for their work on this issue.

I take this opportunity to acknowledge on the record the help provided in this regard by, among others, Deputies Gerry Adams, Helen McEntee, Paudie Coffey, David Stanton, John Deasy, Robert Troy, Anthony Lawlor, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Mattie McGrath, Michael Lowry, Ciara Conway, Gerald Nash. Pamela O'Reilly from Stepaside asked that I thank most sincerely all concerned for their support and understanding throughout the long and difficult journey in this extension being obtained so that she could complete the adoption of her little girl.

The Minister, Deputy Fitzgerald, is a five star politician. She has served a long apprenticeship. Despite the ups and downs along the way she has delivered what she promised. That is what politics is about. It is our job to change and improve the quality of life of our people and not to waffle on here about irrelevant issues.


Susan Lohan
Posted on 20 Mar 2014 2:03 pm (Report this comment)

Dear Deputy Mary White - I hope that the 60,000+ adopted people who have been clamouring for decades for legislative change in order to discover their identities & increasingly the circumstances of their adoptions can rely on the a proportionate amount of sympathy when it comes to presurising the Minister to enact such open-records legislation? You can also add to that the ten's of thousands of unmarried mothers whose children were forcibly taken from them, in 100's of cases after many years of living with their children in Mother & Baby Homes.
With regards to your comment that you did "not have adequate words to describe the pain, anguish and yearning of the (23) families waiting to adopt these children", I strongly recommend that you refocus your lobbying efforts on the best interests of the children in Russia, Ethiopia and the other corrupt regimes, that the Irish State seems to think it ok to import children from. Sponsorship is universally regarded as the best option for children whose wider families & wider communities cannot care for them; ICA is meant as a measure of last resort to avoid the widespread corruption & criminality that typically accompanies it. A senior advisor on child protection with UNICEF, Alexandria Yuster, argues that international adoption is now more about finding children for first world parents than finding homes for children.
Words cannot describe how I feel about the disproportionate effort the Houses of the Oireachtas have taken in this area; would that the rest of us were so well connected........

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