Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

St Patrick’s Guild Adoption Records

Helpline number : 1800 805 665 

Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm

What has Tusla identified?

Tusla has established from the records of St Patrick’s Guild that at least 126 births between 1946 and 1969 were incorrectly registered. A further 16 cases from the same time period are being examined to establish if they are also incorrect registrations.

This discovery relates only to records of St Patrick’s Guild and only to births between 1946 and 1969. It does not relate to any other adoption societies or organisations.

What is an incorrect registration?

An “incorrect registration” takes place when one or both of the following happens:

  • the name of a person who is not a birth parent of the child is entered in the register of births as a parent of the child;
  • the name of the birth mother of the child is not entered in the register of births as the mother of the child.

How did Tusla discover this?

Tusla holds historical adoption records and uses them to help people trace their birth relatives. In 2016 we received the records of St Patrick’s Guild. During the course of helping people trace their birth relatives, we discovered that some records i.e index cards appeared to have evidence of babies’ births being incorrectly registered. Tusla subsequently  reviewed these cards which appeared to have evidence of incorrect registration and ultimately established that at least 126 births between 1946 and 1969 were incorrectly registered. A further 16 cases from the same time period are being examined to establish if they are also incorrect registrations

What does this mean?

This means that 126 people were incorrectly registered at birth and that Tusla now holds information about them that they may not be aware of but are entitled to know. Tusla has referred the issue to An Garda Síochána.

What is Tusla doing about this?

All of these cases have been allocated to social workers who will identify the people involved, contact them and support them as they are given information about themselves.

How will Tusla do this?

The first step is to identify the people affected. Social workers will gather information to identify and locate them. They will then contact the people directly and invite them to meet to discuss the information we hold.

We are very aware that this will be a shock for people affected and may cause upset and anxiety. We will work closely with people throughout and offer support including counselling while allowing them their autonomy to decide what steps they want to take.

What information and support will people affected receive from Tusla?

Tusla will give people the information we hold about them, for example, their birth name. The amount of information shared between parties will be decided on a case by case basis taking into consideration principles of best practice.

Each person affected will have a dedicated social worker who will support and guide them through the process.

If I have a question, where can I get answers?

You can either call the lowcall number 1800 805 665  or contact your local Adoption Information and Tracing office. Find your local office here 

Based on our current information

1. If you have an adoption order, you are not affected by this announcement. 

2. If you were born before 1946 or after 1969 you are not affected by this announcement. 

3. If you were born between 1946 and 1969 and placed by St Patrick's Guild and don't have an adoption order you may be affected by this announcement. 

Tusla has informed the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, of this discovery and will now work to identify, locate and contact those affected as a matter of urgency. Tusla has created a dedicated team of experienced practitioners to carry out this work.

Everyone affected will be contacted directly by Tusla when we have verified their identities. This is an extremely sensitive issue and one which we acknowledge may cause upset and anxiety for those affected. All people affected will be offered face-to-face meetings, information and support, including counselling, as they are provided with this information about themselves.

FAQs

What is an incorrect registration?

An “incorrect registration” takes place when one or both of the following occurs:

  • the name of a person who is not a birth parent of the child is entered in the register of births as a parent of the child;
  • the name of the birth mother of the child is not entered in the register of births as the mother of the child.

How can I find out if I am one of the people affected?

Tusla will verify the identities of those affected and will contact these people directly. If you believe that you may be one of those affected, we ask that you wait to hear from us.

How long will it take for you to inform the people affected?

At this point in time, we cannot say with certainty how long this process will take. Tracing people is often slow, labour-intensive work. We have however created an experienced team of dedicated social workers to trace these people as quickly as possible. 

How will you contact people?

Everyone who is affected by this issue will be contacted directly by Tusla when their identities have been verified. People will be invited to attend a face-to-face meeting with profesionally qualified social workers who will explain what has been established about their birth and registration. All those affected will be offered on-going support from Tusla as they go through this process.

Will you be informing the birth parents of the people affected?

Yes, Tusla will identify and locate the birth mothers of the people affected and contact them directly. If you believe that you may be one of those affected, we ask that you wait to hear from us as we will not be in a position to confirm any information over the phone.

Will you be informing the registered parents of the people affected?

Yes, Tusla will identify and locate the registered parents of the people affected and contact them directly. If you believe that you may be one of those affected, we ask that you wait to hear from us.

What supports are being offered to people affected?

Tusla will offer those affected support throughout the process. We will also link them in with other services as appropriate and with their consent

Can you guarantee that the 126 people in question are the only people whose births were incorrectly registered by St Patrick’s Guild?

Unfortunately we cannot. Tusla identified the 126 cases on the basis of information clearly available on St Patrick’s Guild records. A further 16 cases from the same time period are being examined to establish if they are also incorrect registrations. A full audit of all records would be necessary to establish if there are other such cases.

I believe my birth was incorrectly registered. What should I do?

If you are not one of the people directly affected by this announcement but believe your birth was incorrectly registered you can either call the lowcall number 1800 805 665  or contact your local Adoption Information and Tracing office to apply for an information and tracing application form. Find your local office here here

I am adopted. How does this affect me?

There are no implications for people who are adopted. At present this issue is limited to St Patrick’s Guild records and relates to the births of 126 people between 1946 and 1969. However, Tusla will undertake a sampling exercise on all historical adoption records we hold to examine if key terminology can be identified that would indicate evidence of possible incorrect registrations having been recorded.

I had a child placed with me from St Patrick's Guild and do not have an adoption order. How does this affect me?

If you had a child placed with your from St patrick's Guild who was born between 1946 and 1969 you may be affected by this issue. If you believe that you may be one of those affected, we ask that you wait to hear from us.

I gave birth to a child who was placed for adoption through St Patrick’s Guild. How does this affect me?

If you gave birth to a child between 1946 and 1969 and that child was placed for adoption through St Patrick’s Guild you may be affected by this issue. If you believe that you may be one of those affected, we ask that you wait to hear from us.

I was adopted. How can I find my birth parents?

Tusla offers information and tracing services for people who were adopted, birth parents, adoptive parents and people who were raised in long-term foster care. For more information about our information and tracing service, including contact details, click here

Will Tusla now undertake a thorough search of all adoption records held by the Agency for evidence of criminal or unlawful practices?

In light of this discovery, Tusla has been tasked by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, to complete a sampling exercise on all historical adoption records we hold to examine if key terminology can be identifed that would indicate evidence of possible incorrect registrations haveing been recorded.

Will this issue impact on information and tracing services?

It is likely that this work will impact on our general information and tracing services and on the waiting time for people who have applied for a tracing service. We apologise for this inconvenience and to minimise this impact we have begun recruitment to fill the posts made vacant by the creation of the team.

How long has Tusla been aware of this practice?

Tusla received the records in question from St Patrick’s Guild in May 2016. In the course of carrying out information and tracing work over the following year, we begun to identify issues of concern in the St Patrick’s Guild records. We reviewed these issues, assessed their significance and brought them to the attention of relevant bodies including the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone. 

Where can I get more information?

This is an extremely sensitive issue and one which we acknowledge may cause upset and anxiety for those affected, as well as adopted people, adoptive parents and birth parents across the country. A helpline has been set up for anyone who has concerns about this announcement. The helpline number is 1800 805 665  and is open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

What information can I get from the Helpline?

  • Clarification around the general context for the announcement e.g defining an incorrect birth registration

  • Information in respect of how Tusla will deal with all matters sensitively and with due regard for the welfare of all persons involved

What information can I not receive from the helpline?

  • Confirmation if any caller is directly affect by the cases identified
  • Receive any information over the phone about a specific case file
  • Receive any facts / figures in relation to St Patrick’s Guild files and records
  • Confirmation of any information in relation to specific cases
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