Philomena Lee’s plea over Adoption Bill

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

Philomena Lee, who is played by Judi Dench in the hit film Philomena
A LIMERICKWOMAN whose life story was the subject of a Hollywood film has backed the Adoption Information Bill ahead of the Seanad vote this week, after her own heartbreaking search to find her son.

A LIMERICKWOMAN whose life story was the subject of a Hollywood film has backed the Adoption Information Bill ahead of the Seanad vote this week, after her own heartbreaking search to find her son.

Philomena Lee, 81, whose 50-year search for her son Anthony brought world-wide attention via the Oscar-nominated film Philomena, has backed the Adoption Bill, which will be debated in the Seanad on Wednesday and has urged all Senators to support it.

If passed the Bill would provide up to 50,000 adopted people with the right to their birth certificate for the first time. Under the bill, introduced by Senators Averil Power, Jillian van Turnhout and Fidelma Healy Eames, all adoptees will have a right to their birth certificates, listing their original names and their parents’ names.

Their biological parents will also be able to request information about their adopted sons or daughters; and adoptees and their parents can choose whether they are happy to have their current contact details released to each other.

Speaking ahead of the Seanad debate, Ms Lee, who is from Newcastle West, said she is “so pleased that legislation to recognise the rights of all adopted people, mothers and families is finally before the Irish parliament.”

“If this legislation had been in place years ago, Anthony and I would have been reunited with each other before he died,” she said.

“Instead, he died believing I had rejected him. It is too late for us, but would be a big help to other women who were separated from their sons and daughters by adoption. I hope every Senator will do what’s right and support it,” she said,

Ms Lee also hopes that her candour in coming forward will help other mothers of loss to shed the stigma of secrecy and shame they have carried for far too long.

In 1952, the Newcastle West woman gave birth to her son Anthony at the State-funded Sean Ross Abbey mother-baby home in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.

He was sent to America, and despite also searching for his mother, they were never able to find each other.