A mother who alleged her son had been illegally adopted, has said she hoped the settlement in her case would encourage others to act, and that the authorities would support and assist them.

The High Court heard yesterday that 79-year-old Tressa Reeves (nee Donnelly) and her son Patrick Farrell aka Andre Donnelly, had settled their action against a Catholic adoption agency and the State.

They had sued St Patrick's Guild (Incorporated) adoption society which was run by the Sisters of Charity, and the State arising out of her long search for him following his alleged illegal adoption in 1961.

The defendants denied the claims.

The terms of the settlement are confidential.

Speaking outside the Four Courts today, Ms Reeves said that when her search began, there had not even been a landing on the moon and that since then there had been many advances in technology.

But she said things had not changed for the men and women affected by illegal adoption, some of whom she said, did not even know their own identity.

She said her deceased daughter never got to meet her brother.

Ms Reeves said she intended to enjoy the love and support of her whole family and she appealed for privacy.

Asked about the lost years, she said she had forgotten about all of that.

Solicitor Neil Cosgrave said it had been a long, gruelling and harrowing process for his clients.

He said they had achieved a comprehensive conclusion and feel vindicated.

Ms Reeves gave birth to her son at a clinic in Dublin on 13 March 1961.

Days later he was placed with a family in Co Carlow and given the name Patrick Farrell.

Ms Reeves spent decades looking for him and they were reunited in 2013.

Mr Farrell did not know he was illegally adopted until late in 2012.

Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights Alliance said there were potentially thousands of other mothers and children doing battle, and she urged Minister for Children Katherine Zappone to expedite their cases. 

She said time was running out for elderly mothers and children.