Thursday, September 01, 2005

Time to name it...

David Quinn the social and religious affairs correspondent of the Irish Independent regularly writes articles on same-sex marriage, gay priests and gay adoption.

He never talks to gay groups, or lesbian and gay commentators for these stories, or if he does he forgets to mention them. This is the reporter who ‘exposed’ a gay sex ring in the Diocese of Ferns that never existed.

David Quinn is a former editor of the Irish Catholic. The Irish Catholic is published on a Thursday. Today is Thursday. He runs a story on gay people being able to adopt. ‘Gay couples win right to adopt child under new equality ruling’ (registration required)

He quotes the Irish Catholic as his source in the story that a lesbian couple is at an advanced stage in the adoption process. This story is not news to many lesbians and gay men, this is how single people can adopt, this is how lesbians and gay men have adopted for some years, this is how single heterosexual people have adopted.

Non-marital couples, gay or straight have not been able to adopt – that’s the story, but Quinn spins it otherwise and this is supposed to be news. The other story that is not reported is the discrimination faced by children adopted by single people in non-marital relationships. These children don’t have the same rights to inheritance, guardianship, succession or protection should non-adoptive parent die. Note also the way in which the word Equality is used in the headline. Equality, the Equality Authority and Equality legislation are all familiar targets of Quinn's reporting.

In reporting on the issue, Quinn does not talk to lesbian and gay groups about the story, he further fosters the growing myth that lesbians and gay men only want to adopt in terms of bringing up families. Those who have children already or are trying to conceive are again forgotten about in this story. Gay people are being portrayed as using foreign adoption to adopt children because they can’t have children otherwise.

When Quinn was appointed to this position many of us knew that this type of reporting would be to be expected. But I think its time to say enough is enough.

So today I am starting Quinn watch, and publishing his stories and offering the right to reply to them because the mailbag of the Independent is not really going to cut it.

His boss, Sir Anthony O’Reilly recently gave an interview to the Sunday Times in which he seemed to flag up intentions to come after bloggers who lift newspaper content.

“I can see the newspaper industry getting together the same way as the recording industry got together, except in a more effective way,” said O’Reilly. “A journalist’s work is valuable, it needs to be protected.”

And it seems the Indo are more interested in protecting their journalists and the Catholic Church than they are about protecting balance and fair reporting.

Gay couples win right to adopt child under new equality ruling

THE Attorney General has cleared the way for homosexuals living in this country to adopt children.

A new interpretation of the Adoption Act by the Office of the Attorney General makes it clear that social workers can permit either homosexuals or heterosexuals, cohabiting or single, to be considered as adoptive parents.

The Adoption Board, which must ultimately approve all adoption applications, has confirmed to the Irish Independent that single people are permitted to apply to adopt even if they are living with someone else - although the law permits only married couples to apply for adoption as a couple.

In effect, the interpretation clears the way for cohabiting couples, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, to apply to adopt a child, so long as they do not make the application together.

The ruling also means that any person living alone - gay or heterosexual - can apply for adoption.

Anyone wishing to adopt a child either from Ireland or from overseas must be assessed by the health authorities and approved by the Adoption Board.

The relevant interpretation of the Adoption Act was communicated to the Adoption Board by the Attorney General within the past year, the board said.

Already three individuals living in homosexual relationships have applied to their local health boards for permission to adopt from abroad, a report in this week's Irish Catholic claims.

The Registrar of the Adoption Board, Kiernan Gildea, said that the interpretation from the Attorney General means a single person can be assessed for adoption regardless of whether they are living with someone - the person they are living with could be a parent, or simply a friend.

He admitted it was possible the board has already approved individuals for adoption who are in homosexual relationships; but if so, this had not been brought to their attention in any of the assessment reports sent to them for final approval. Mr Gildea would only say that 66 "sole applicants" have been
approved for adoption over the past 13 years.

He added that the board strove to comply with all relevant equality legislation in assessing individuals for suitability to adopt.
According to The Irish Catholic, a social worker with the Inter-country Adoption Service for the eastern region confirmed to it that a lesbian couple was currently being assessed for adoption.

She said: "There is nothing to stop a gay couple from applying to adopt. A lesbian couple have already applied to adopt a child and their application is quite far ahead at this point in time. As of yet, there has been no declaration by the Adoption Board. It won't take a lot longer and should come quickly."

The advice from the Attorney General clearly implies that a single person can be assessed even when they are living with someone else when it states: "In the case of a single applicant, the board must be satisfied that the statutory
criteria are met in relation to that applicant . . . it follows then that the assessment should be of the applicant and not of another person who is not, and who cannot by law be a co-applicant."

It then stipulates that where the sole applicant is living with another person, this fact should not be ignored.
"In many cases it might well be necessary to carry out a proper assessment of the applicant, eg where it is clear that the partner will be carrying out a considerable portion of caring for
the child."

A spokesperson for the Health Service Executive also confirmed
last night that homosexuals can apply for adoption.

David Quinn Religious and Social Affairs


At 17:42, Anonymous morgan said...

It looks like an over-the-top, poorly substantiated, storm in a teacup to me.

Doesn't say much for quality reporting by the professional media, does it?

At 17:13, Anonymous Siobh said...

I agree, when I saw this yesterday I was left baffled. Where is the story here?

As Maman says, the real issue (the real scandal) is the fact that many parents and children in this country have no legal rights and/or protections. This limbo applies to biological fathers too.

It continues to amaze me that a father's rights where his children are concerned depend entirely on the legal status of his relationship with the mother.


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