Irish woman who provided inspiration for Oscar-nominated movie to address conference on adoption

Philomena Lee among the speakers lined up for conference on re-examining adoption to be held at University College Cork

The woman who inspired the Oscar-nominated film Philomena is among the speakers who will address a conference on adoption at University College Cork next month.

Philomena Lee, whose moving search for the son she was forced to put up for adoption provided the basis for the film starring Judi Dench, is among a group of speakers lined up for the Cork conference.

The conference, Redefining adoption in a new era: Opportunities and challenges for law and practice, takes places on September 4th and 5th.


Also due to address the conference, organised by the UCC school of applied social studies and the law faculty, is


Susan Lohan

of the Adoption Rights Alliance. Other speakers include

Dr Pien

Bos of the University of Humanistic Studies in


, Dr

Peter Selman


Newcastle University


Nigel Cantwell




The president of the District Court, Judge Rosemary Horgan, will also be among the speakers at the event, which seeks to reframe adoption law and practice in changing cultural contexts.

One of the conference convenors, UCC law lecturer Dr Aisling Parkes, said international adoption was changing rapidly and this would be examined at the conference.

Dr Parkes said adoption law and practice in Ireland had been undergoing a significant period of transition, particularly with the onset of the children's rights movement.

‘Outdated’ legislation

“Although relatively recent, the Adoption Act 2010 is outdated by international comparison. Moreover, it is inconsistent with Irish adoption practice,” she said.

“It is imperative that the necessary reform of adoption law is informed by best practice worldwide and the experiences of stakeholders and professionals working in the field.”

She added that the conference would be “comparative in nature, tapping into existing knowledge from other jurisdictions that have already addressed some of these challenging areas”.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times