Tánaiste Joan Burton has suggested that new adoption legislation could be tagged ‘Philomena’s Law’ in honour of the efforts of Philomena Lee to promote the issue.

The Dublin West Labour TD made the comment as she addressed a packed public meeting on the new reforms to adoption law in Westmanstown Golf Club last night (Monday 28th September). The meeting heard from speakers including Fergus Finlay of Barnardo’s, Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights Alliance and UCC Law lecturer Conor O’Mahony.

The information night also saw local residents from Dublin 15 tell their stories of being adopted, some from mother and baby homes.


The Tánaiste spoke of her own personal story of being adopted, and her efforts to trace her birth parents in the 1990s.

She outlined at the meeting what the new reforms contained in the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill will mean:

“The proposals will enable a person aged 18 or over obtain his or her birth certificate – because there will be a newly created legal entitlement to the information required to apply for a birth certificate.

“In addition, the proposals will allow for the release of vital personal information relating solely to the adopted person. This will include, for example, early personal medical information, a matter of huge importance to adopted people.

“Importantly, persons who were the subject of “informal adoptions”, or wrongfully registered, will also be enabled to avail of these new information and tracing services.”

The Tánaiste added:

“When the legislation is enacted, we could perhaps tag it as ‘Philomena’s Law’ in honour of the remarkable efforts of Philomena Lee to promote the issue through the book and film she made about her life.”
The legislation will now come before a Dáil committee in the coming months.