Irish Government apologises following our recommendations with the CLANN Project

London, 14 January 2020 – The Irish Government has issued an apology following the publication of the Commission of Investigation report into Mother and Baby Homes, of which Hogan Lovells has worked on pro bono for the past six years.

Since 2015, our teams have advised the CLANN Project, a joint initiative with Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) and Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR), on the widespread forced adoptions of children born to single mothers in Ireland between 1922 and 1998, which caused ongoing severe and unnecessary harm to many affected families. Our teams prepared the CLANN Report for submission to the Commission of Investigation and welcomed the Irish Government’s announcement on access to information for those affected by historical abuses in the 20th century Mother and Baby Homes in Ireland.

This week marks a ground-breaking development in our work with the CLANN Project with the Irish government publishing their response to the Commission of Investigation, and our 154-page CLANN report. The report drew on 77 witness statements, extracted from conversations our teams had with 164 individuals who were separated from their family members as a result of Ireland’s forced, secret adoption system, and other historical abuses.

An apology was issued to all babies and mothers impacted, with a statement indicating that the Government had a plan which was both “meaningful and measured”, adding that it is “a fundamental right for people to know who they are; there they came from; who their parents were, or as much knowledge as can be obtained.”

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One of the main recommendations from our team and the CLANN Project is a wish to obtain access-to-records and enforce legislation where everyone in Ireland is guaranteed access to their birth certificate and their historical records. Since 1864 all Irish birth certificates have been publicly available in the General Register Office. Adopted people are the only people in Ireland who are denied the ability to retrieve their own birth certificate, because institutions and individuals administering the records refuse to inform adopted people of their name at birth or to provide adopted people with their unredacted adoption or early life file.

Working alongside Dr Maeve O’Rouke and Dr Claire McGettrick with partners Faye Jarvis, Eduardo Ustaran and Yasmin Waljee these issues would not have come to light.  Our advice and support at the intersection between business and government has impacted hundreds of families and marks a real shift in this historical case.

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