THE woman who inspired Oscar-nominated film Philomena is to lead a campaign aimed at shaming the Irish state into opening secret records on 60,000 forced adoptions.
Philomena Lee’s extraordinary story of her 50-year search for her late son Anthony has become the catalyst for a renewed battle to get access to birth certificates held by churches, religious orders, private agencies and health authorities.
Sixty years after the Irish government legalised forced adoption for unmarried mothers, files remain closed.
Philomena’s harrowing story is one of tens of thousands hidden from society in Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes.
She said: “They told Anthony I had left him at two weeks old. I reared him to three and a half years. He was a lovely little boy.
“But I never got any answers to anything. I never knew anything about him at all. It was very sad to find out he had passed away but at last I had found him.”
Philomena gave birth to a son in 1952 in Roscrea, Co Tipperary. Mother and son were forcibly separated three years later and he was sold for adoption.
Philomena is planning to attend the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles, where the film is in the running for four awards, including best picture and best actress for Dame Judi Dench.