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Real Philomena calls for changes to Irish adoption laws

Published on Jan 25, 2014 6:05 AM
 
Philomena Lee, whose life was featured in the Oscar Best Picture nominated film “Philomena", arrives at the 25th Annual Producers Guild of America Awards in Beverly Hills, California on Jan 19, 2014.The 80-year-old Irish woman who inspired the Oscar-nominated film Philomena launched a campaign calling for access to adoption records on Friday, hoping her story will highlight the plight of tens of thousands. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

DUBLIN (REUTERS) - The 80-year-old Irish woman who inspired the Oscar-nominated film Philomena launched a campaign calling for access to adoption records on Friday, hoping her story will highlight the plight of tens of thousands.

Philomena Lee's 50-year search for the son she was forced to give up as a teenager has struck a chord with movie fans across the world and received four Academy Award nominations last week, including one for actress Judi Dench, who plays Ms Lee.

Launching the "Philomena Project", Ms Lee called on Dublin to legislate for the release of more than 60,000 files withheld by the state, private adoption agencies and the Catholic Church that are the sole source of many adopted peoples' identities.

Ms Lee, who like many unmarried mothers in 1950s Ireland was forced to work in convent laundries while their children were put up for adoption, said access to records would have provided a different outcome to her story.

 
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