Europe

Settlement reached in 'illegal adoption' case

Tressa Reeves and her son Patrick Farrell Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Tressa Reeves and her son Patrick Farrell have settled their court action against Saint Patrick's Guild and the Irish State

Tressa Reeves (nee Donnelly) and her son Patrick Farrell settled a high court action against a catholic adoption agency and the Irish state.

RTÉ reported Ms Reeves sought damages over the alleged illegal adoption of her son by St. Patrick's Guild in 1961.

St. Patrick's Guild was run by the Sisters of Charity Nuns. The defendants denied the claims.

In May it was revealed that 126 births were incorrectly registered by the adoption agency between 1946 and 1969.

Following lengthy talks between the sides, barrister Eanna Mulloy, for Ms Reeves and Mr Farrell, told the high court in Dublin that the parties had reached "a comprehensive agreement".

Mr Justice Denis McDonald said he was "really delighted" the case had been resolved.

The terms of the settlement are confidential.

Mrs Reeves gave birth to Mr Farrell at a clinic in Dublin on 13 March 1961.

Days later he was placed with a family at Liscolman, Tullow, County Carlow and given the name Patrick Farrell by the now deceased couple Jim and Maeve Farrell.

Mrs Reeves spent decades looking for him and they were reunited in 2013.

Image caption When Tressa Reeves became pregnant at the age of 20, her parents sent her from her home in Hampshire to Dublin to give birth in a home run by nuns

Mr Farrell did not know he was adopted until late in 2012, months after his adoptive mother's death.

Mrs Reeves, who is now living in Cornwall in England, claimed she was given the "brush off" by St Patrick's Guild and others in authority when she sought to make contact with him.

The court heard Mrs Reeves, who came from a catholic English family with Irish connections, was sent to Ireland after she became pregnant in 1960.

She gave birth to her son at the Marie clinic in Dublin in March 1961 and called him Andre, on the basis he would be the only Andre in Ireland in the hope of someday finding him.

During her long search, she claimed she was told by a nun that adopted children do not look for their birth parents and that he had been likely sent to America.

She learned in 1997 that he had been placed with an Irish family, but despite her requests was not given information that would allow her to make contact him.

Mr Farrell was only made aware of his true origins in 2012.

'Alleged failure to protect family rights'

Both Mr Farrell, 57, and Mrs Reeves, 79, said his adoption was unlawful and claimed his placement with the Farrells was done without the legal safeguards provided under the adoption laws.

They claimed false birth and baptism certificates were procured in respect of baby Andre.

They sought damages for alleged false misrepresentations made concerning Patrick's location.

They also alleged Saint Patrick's Guild engaged in a conspiracy and failed to provide them with information about each other in a timely manner.

They claimed there was a failure to protect their family rights and that Patrick was placed with the Farrells without their suitability being assessed.

They also alleged the Irish State failed to vindicate or recognise the rights of the mother and son.

All claims were denied.

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