Republic of Ireland news

President de Valera's gynaecologist son facilitated illegal adoption of babies

President Eamon de Valera with his gynaecologist son Eamonn de Valera Jr. Picture by UCD & OFM

THE SON of former Irish President Eamon de Valera facilitated the illegal adoption of babies long after the practice was made a criminal offence, a documentary broadcast last night revealed.

While the involvement of Professor Eamonn de Valera Jr - the son of former Fianna Fáil founder Eamon de Valera - in illegal adoptions has previously been disclosed, new evidence highlights the extent to which some of the Republic's most elite and powerful individuals acted in contravention of the law.

The RTÉ programme detailed how over the course of several decades, the high-profile consultant gynaecologist at Dublin's National Maternity Hospital arranged for the children of unmarried mothers to be adopted by couples.

The introduction of the 1952 Adoption Act would have made such practices illegal.

The RTÉ Investigates documentary Who Am I: Ireland's Illegal Adoptions revealed Prof de Valera Jr facilitated the adoption of four children by one family over the space of five-and-a-half years, including Brenda Lynch (62), who for most of her life believed she was the biological daughter of a middle-class couple from north Dublin.

She discovered in January 2020 that she had been illegally adopted and later learned that Prof De Valera Jr had facilitated her adoption.

Ms Lynch was born in a private Dublin nursing home and was taken away from her birth mother before being handed over to her adoptive mother, who had feigned pregnancy.

There was no record of Ms Lynch's adoption and no documentary evidence of her birth mother’s consent.

In another instance, evidence has been unearthed showing how Prof de Valera Jr arranged antenatal appointments for a woman who was not actually pregnant, to further the impression that her illegally adopted baby was actually her biological child.

Years later, he wrote a letter regarding the placement of another baby in the late 1960s in which he said "given his illegitimate background we felt it best the child was placed with a good family."

The president's son was just one of several powerful individuals involved in facilitating illegal adoptions, the programme said.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Republic of Ireland news