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Not knowing where you belong not a nice feeling

From The Evening Echo.

THE Deputy County Mayor Mary Linehan Foley has spoken of the difficulties of not knowing where she was from and urged the Government to acknowledge adoptee identity rights.

Ms Linehan Foley, who is adopted, said: “Not knowing where you belong is not a nice feeling and it is a human right to know exactly where you came from.

“I think nowadays when you have children and grandchildren of your own, you need to know what is hereditary, what isn’t and it’s not just the health side of it. It’s not much fun really, growing up and not knowing where you came from.”

The issue was raised at County Hall, in a motion put forward by Independent Councillor June Murphy, calling for Adoptee Identity rights to be acknowledged by the Department of Children & Youth Affairs to allow adoptees “access to their own information on health, history and heritage in line with the equality and personal autonomy rights of other citizens.”

Mrs Linehan Foley said: “As an adoptee myself, I get it because I was there myself. Never knowing where you came from is not a nice feeling.”

The Deputy Mayor, who found her mother in recent years, said it took a long time to get information.

“It took a few years, it was a long process trying to work with the convent where I was born, things weren’t forthcoming, so it was a fighting process and a long process. But I am one of the lucky ones and I can sit here and know where I have come from. For me, 20 years ago, a bit of the jigsaw was filled and it slotted in from there.”

Councillor Murphy said there are 150,000 adoptees in Ireland and many are trying to access information such as medical history.

“They should not be penalised and treated like they don’t matter or like second-class citizens, because they were adopted. They deserve the same basic human rights as everyone else.”