A woman who claims her son was illegally adopted and that she was prevented from finding him, has said the adoption agency through which he was adopted, told her ten years later, they had no record of his birth.

Tressa Reeves gave birth to her son on 13 March, 1961. She did not see him again until January 2013. The court has heard he was given to a family in Carlow without an adoption order and that a new birth certificate was issued for him in a different name and with a different date of birth.

Her son, who was given the name, Paddy Farrell, told the High Court yesterday, that the news that he had been adopted shortly after his birth was a bombshell.

Mrs Reeves and her son are suing the St Patrick's Guild Adoption society and the State, claiming the adoption was illegal and that they were "duped and cheated" and prevented from being reunited for years.

Tressa Reeves, who is now 79, told the High Court she was pregnant in the summer of 1960 at the age of 20. She had no income she said - and could not bring up a child.

Her Catholic parents arranged for her to leave her home in Surrey, and go to Ireland. They were in contact with the St Patrick's Guild adoption society. They were told she would be treated as one of the family and that she should have a cheap wedding ring when she came over so she could go "to the Nursing home" to give birth.

She told the court she was in a house on the Howth Road for a long time, and helped to nurse babies, including a baby with Down's Syndrome who was not wanted by his parents and was going to die.

After she had her baby on 13 March, 1961, she rang her mother who said "oh right, I'll tell Daddy." Mrs Reeves said that was the end of that conversation.

Mrs Reeves said she was told by the midwife who delivered her baby that she should not touch him or bond with him.

But she decided to baptise him and call him André; she said that was a "nice foreign name" and when she went to find him she would be able to find the only André in Ireland.

Mrs Reeves said she had asked if she could get a job and leave the baby where he was for the adoption agency to look after, while she worked. But she was told this was not possible and that he would be going to a good home down the country.

Just over a week later, she said she was brought by a priest, Father John Maloney, to the offices of St Patrick's Guild in Dublin and signed a number of forms.

She said she knew she had to have the child adopted but it was still a shock to see it in black and white. She was brought to the airport and flew back to England the same day.

Over the months that followed, she wrote to the nun in charge of St Patrick's Guild asking after her "little one". 

She sent clothes for him and asked repeatedly for a photo. She was told a photo had been requested.

In the early seventies, while on holiday in Ireland, she went to the offices of the society in Abbey Street in Dublin. She said the nun there told her there were no records matching the details she had given and that adopted children, especially boys, were never interested in their birth parents. 

She travelled out to the house where she had given birth and was told by the same midwife who had looked after her that Irish children had been trafficked to America and there would be no paperwork so she should not bother looking any more. 

Mrs Reeves said the midwife, Kathleen Maher, "had her answers down pat".

The court has heard her child, André Donnelly was in fact given to a childless couple in Carlow and his birth was registered under the name Patrick Farrell and a date of birth, ten days later than his actual birthday.

In 1996, Mrs Reeves said her cousin told her there was a new openness in Ireland about finding adopted children and urged her to get in touch with the society again. She phoned and wrote but did not get replies.

The case will now continue on Tuesday.

Mr Justice Denis McDonald is due to give a ruling first on an application by lawyers for St Patrick's Guild to have the case struck out.