The Philomena Project


The Philomena Project is a fund to provide finance to Adoption Rights Alliance to achieve its goals.

The Six Goals

1. Raising public awareness in Ireland and abroad on the issue of forced illegal adoptions in Ireland and the denial of access to birth certificates.

2. Launch of petition and donation page to get support for the project.

3. Continue to expand the ongoing research the Project is doing.

4. Provide support to the families looking trace relatives.

5. Adoption Rights Alliance needs a legal team to challenge the 1998 Supreme Court ruling.

6. Most important goal: the release of records and the reunification of families.

To read more about it, go to The Philomena Project and don’t forget to sign the petition!! For information on Adoption Rights Alliance, please click here.

New Legislation “Must Take Into Account Privacy of Mother”

New legislation to assist the tracing of birth parents by adopted children must take into account the “strong constitutional” right to privacy of the birth mother, the Minister for Children has said.

Frances Fitzgerald stressed: “I will be bound and am bound . . . to provide for a balancing between the strong constitutional provision relating to privacy and the right to identity.” The Minister was responding to Independent TD Clare Daily, who told Ms Fitzgerald that she appeared to be prioritising the rights of birth parents “way above the rights of children to their identity.” 

However, Ms Fitzgerald told the Dail that the initial outline of the new Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill was “close to completion”, in which the proposition would be to provide “as much information as possible.”


Information provided by the Irish Times. You can read the full story here.


Minister Fitzgerald launching the EPIC National Advocacy Service on 7th May 2013. Source: Department of Children/Flickr

Bill will vindicate the right of adopted people to know about their origins

In the past, adopted people had to make requests to their adoption agency or the Adoption Authority of Ireland to find information about their origins. This process was slow and it could take years to find anything.

The upcoming Adoption (Tracing and Information) Bill will provide the opportunity to change this. The rights of adopted people will be properly vindicated. Birth parents will also have access to information from their child’s records. But, most importantly, the legislation applies to people to those who were adopted before its enactment.

To read more about this new development, click here.

New Yorker is reunited with Irish mother

Christopher Quirin was born to a single mother in Ireland in 1950. His mother was sent by her parents to the notorious Sean Ross Abbey in Tipperary- the same place Philomena Lee was. Like Lee’s son, he too was adopted by an American family.

For Quirin the coldness of his new adoptive home was the feature that he remembers most.

“I knew I didn’t fit in,” he says. “I’m six feet tall with red hair and they were all short with brown hair. I used to think I was the milkman’s son.”

The release of Philomena inspired Christopher to track down his birth mother. With the help of activist Bernadette Joyce, he found her in London and he went to meet 84 year old, Margaret Linehan.

To read what happened next, click here.

Philomena Lee to be honoured by Feminist Majority Foundation

On May 5, Philomena Lee will head to Los Angeles to receive the Eleanor Roosevelt Award from women’s right group, Feminist Majority Foundation.

The 80-year old receives the award for her bravery. The ceremony is chaired by Jay Leno and his wife, Mavis.

To read the full article, click here.

Irish Minister Accused of Blocking Access to Secret Adoption Records

The Minister for Children and Youth has announced that she “absolutely rejects” the proposition that she is proactively trying to block access to adoption records dating back to the 1950s. In an emailed statement by her department, Frances Fitzgerald categorically denied any attempts to block information legislation.

The Minister said she was in fact working on legislation that would allow people to trace and access their birth records. The system was originally intended for 2013 but is now expected to be unveiled sometime later this year.

However Ms Fitzgerald said the largest obstacle in the new system’s implementation is the matter of confidentiality.

“There are legal and constitutional difficulties in retrospectively overturning considerations of confidentiality other than on the basis of consent,” she said.

To read this story in full, click here.


Information provided by World Bulletin.

Oscars 2014: Real-Life Philomena Ramps Up Adoption Rights Efforts

Even though the critically acclaimed film, Philomena, was released last November, the real Philomena’s story is still evolving. She recently launched the Philomena Project, an initiative to raise awareness and encourage the Irish government and the Catholic Church to make adoption records public.

To date, 13,687 people have signed the petition on to help people get information about their lost children.

Many other Irish women found themselves in similar situations but, unlike Lee, never managed to find the children who were taken from them.

To sign the petition, please go to

Full article:

UN Demand Vatican Release Ireland’s Secret Adoption Records

The United Nations has assailed the Vatican once again, demanding they release Ireland’s hidden adoption records.

The European think-tank called on the Holy See to “help birth parents locate children who were taken from them for adoption out of Catholic institutions like the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland.”

Susan Lohan, of Ireland’s Adoption Rights Alliance, has said that it is this caveat which is at risk of being overlooked.

“Irish politicians have hoped that people would confuse the issue of the state-funded Mother and Baby Homes with that of the Magdalene Laundries and think it resolved,” she added. “We will not tolerate more of their “deny “til we die” strategy, we want appropriate legislation now.”

Currently adoption agencies have the right to discretion, meaning that people who are adopted have no right to information regarding their adoption. Adopted people also have no legal right to their birth certificate.

Ms Lohan estimates that there are up to 60,000 records detailing the practice of illegal adoption, and calls for the “continued denial of the rights of at least 60,000 adopted people and an almost equal number of mothers” to be reversed.

For more on this story, go to:

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