Aitheantas says full forensic review of all adoption files is imperative

In response to remarks made by the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) that a full review of thousands of incomplete adoption files is “not feasible”, Aitheantas, the adoptee identity rights organisation, is calling for immediate action to establish an independent agency to conduct a full investigation into this matter. 

Aitheantas said a full forensic review of all incomplete adoption files, as well as a full investigation into all homes, agencies and institutions connected to historical domestic adoption is imperative.

Currently, over 4,000 incomplete adoption files are held by the AAI, while Tusla has over 70,000 files but cannot say how many of these are completed adoptions or partial files.

Commenting today (26.03.21), Maree Ryan-O’Brien, founder of Aitheantas, said: “Comments by the AAI confirm the need for a full independent investigation into incomplete adoption files. It is not acceptable for the AAI to assert that an investigation is “not feasible” when it is required by our commitments to European and International Human Rights Conventions. Our commitment to the International Human Rights Convention necessitates that this matter is investigated fully. Costs should not be an obstacle in this regard. 

“What is clear from the AAI remarks, is the urgent necessity for the establishment of a new agency to deal with all matters concerning historical domestic adoption – to establish once and for all the truths regarding adoption in Ireland. Files need to be investigated and cross referenced, adoptees deserve the truth. They deserve to know if they have siblings who were also adopted and people who were adopted illegally deserve to know their identity.

“We are of the opinion that the AAI or Tusla should not be tasked to carry out this investigation, as it is vital that it is independently conducted. Parties, bodies or institutions who have already sat on, heard or decided on these issues in the past should not be reviewing the same decisions in the future. 

“We are calling on Minister O’Gorman to move quickly to start a full, independent investigation into historical domestic adoption as a matter of urgency. This is a very serious matter and we are obliged by our membership of and participation in International Conventions on Human Rights to conduct such a review.”

Aitheantas is also the organisation behind the #RepealtheSeal campaign and petition, which calls on the Government to allow adoptees and survivors access the database prepared by the Mother and Baby Home Commission of Investigation. 


Contact: Aitheantas Press,

Notes to Editor: 

  • Maree Ryan-O’Brien is available for media interviews. 
  • Aitheantas campaigns to give Irish adoptees access to their own information on health, heritage and history, and acknowledgment of their identity rights. Further information is available at: or by following Aitheantas on Twitter, @Aitheantas. 

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