Adopted people suing St Patrick’s Guild claim ‘kidnapping’, ‘forgery’

Solicitor tells High Court if liquidation proceeds the adoption society will be ‘released’ from proceedings by adopted people

Solicitors for adopted people who are suing St Patrick's Guild adoption society for facilitating their illegal adoptions have told the High Court that they will make claims of "kidnapping, forgery . . . and conspiracy for wrongful concealment".

They will say the society engaged in “well-practised and systematically-perfected child abductions contrary to the express prescriptions of the Adoption Act, 1952”.

They will also say that these practices “repeatedly generated ample profits” for the society.

The allegations came to light in a hearing last Monday in which the liquidator of the society sought an order from the High Court enabling it to advertise to find people who may have claims against the society.


The liquidator, KR Professional Advisors Ltd, has also been told by the High Court to contact Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, in order to advertise the liquidation of the society to potential litigants who may have been the victim of illegal adoptions.

The order was sought by the liquidator of the society in order to establish the full extent of possible claims against St Patrick’s Guild, which has been in voluntary liquidation since 2018.

In the High Court, Ms Justice Miriam O’Regan ordered that an advertisement be published by the liquidator in a number of newspapers one month after the publication of the sampling report on illegal adoptions, published yesterday (Wednesday). The advertisement will invite any further contingent creditors or plaintiffs to come forward within the next six months.

The hearing was also attended by solicitors for several people who have instituted legal actions against St Patrick’s Guild for illegal adoptions.


Solicitor Neil Cosgrave told the court he was acting for 10 plaintiffs who were taking legal actions against the society, and warned that if the liquidation was to proceed the society would be "released" from the proceedings.

He said the plaintiffs were “seeking to finally establish the true facts surrounding their births and subsequent illegal adoptions, with these fundamental facts having been concealed from them in some cases for over six decades”.

In his affidavit Mr Cosgrave said the proceedings involve “multifaceted, multigenerational allegations, which to a disturbing degree involved the repeated and systematic felonies principally of kidnapping, forgery, utterance of false instruments (to wit False Birth Certificates) and conspiracy for wrongful concealment”.

“This wrongdoing has consisted of well-practised and systematically-perfected child abductions contrary to the express prescriptions of the Adoption Act, 1952”, the affidavit states.

Mr Cosgrave also suggested that the “wrongful practices repeatedly generated ample profits upon the slenderest of cost bases, and it is the further investment of these ample profits over the years that is the subject of the keenest inquiry of the plaintiffs, the victims of these crimes who have been systematically shut out and deprived of access to vital records and intelligence”.

“The plaintiffs ought not to be impeded in seeking to establish their respective cases by the mechanism now deployed by the applicant in the unique circumstances which arise,” his affidavit states.

Vulnerable people

He says that the “these heinous acts and acts of wrongful concealment” involved not just St Patrick’s Guild but also other bodies, including bodies who supervised its operations, had resulted in “the injury of an entire category of vulnerable people, both infants and adults”.

St Patrick’s Guild, which facilitated thousands of adoptions, was run by the Sisters of Charity, and was placed in voluntary liquidation at the end of 2018, months after settling a case for an illegal adoption.

The liquidator, Anthony Weldon, did not wish to comment when contacted by The Irish Times, although it is understood that he is keen to contact as many potential litigants as possible in order to bring the liquidation of the society forward.

Previous court filings show that it had assets of more than €200,000.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times