Catholic adoption agency Cúnamh closes its Dublin doors after 106 years

Legislative changes will vest all future legal rights and responsibilities for information and trace services solely in State agencies

Cúnamh’s 10,500 files have now been transferred to the Adoption Authority of Ireland. Photograph: Getty Images

Cúnamh’s 10,500 files have now been transferred to the Adoption Authority of Ireland. Photograph: Getty Images

 

The adoption agency Cúnamh, formerly known as the Catholic Protection & Rescue Society of Ireland, ceased operation at the close of business on Friday. The planned closure had been announced in March of last year.

In a statement the agency said it was doing so “with considerable regret” and because of “the intention of proposed legislative changes to vest all future legal rights and responsibilities for information and trace services solely in State agencies”.

It said that “a planned closure to ensure the best interest of service users commenced in March 2018”.

Established in 1913, the agency has been located since 1921 at offices on Dublin’s South Anne Street. Cúnamh’s 10,500 files have now been transferred to the Adoption Authority of Ireland. The agency had been accredited by the Adoption Authority of Ireland, and since 1953, when legal adoption was introduced in Ireland, it facilitated over 5,700 adoptions.

It also provided a pregnancy counselling, foster care and adoption service. More recently its work included a post-adoption service for adopted children, their adoptive parents and birth parents, as well as an information and tracing service to adult adopted persons and their birth and adoptive families.

Since 2000, Cúnamh has facilitated 1,700 reunions between adopted persons and their birth relatives.

Ahead of its imminent closure all Cúnamh’s files were transferred to the Adoption Authority of Ireland in mid-December.

The Adoption Authority is to provide a service to anyone whose information was held by Cúnamh as soon as relevant procedures are in place.

The authority hopes to be in a position to contact persons whose cases are open and those on a waiting list in early 2020. New inquiries can be made directly to the Adoption Authority.