New legislation proposes automatic right to background information for adopted people
A tracing service is being put together for people who want to make contact with their families.
New legislation will provide automatic rights to adopted people to access all background information.
The Birth Information and Tracing Bill 2022 was introduced by Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman.
The new bill plans to provide a full and clear right of access to birth certificates, birth and early life information for all persons who were adopted, boarded out, the subject of an illegal birth registration or otherwise.
Today, I published the Birth Information and Tracing Bill, which will, for the first time, provide a statutory right to every adopted person in Ireland, and those now living abroad, to full and complete information about their birth, their early life and their origins. pic.twitter.com/tCVUSyWD4k
— Roderic O’Gorman TD (@rodericogorman) January 12, 2022
Aitheantas, an adoptee identity rights organisation, has welcomed the publication of the bill, describing it as a “sea change” in the legislative approach.
“Adoptees in Ireland have fought tirelessly for the right to access the identity of their birth parents for many years," Maree Ryan-O’Brien, founder of Aitheantas said.
"The introduction of this bill today is an important step in the right direction, and will help a lot of people in establishing their identities.
"We also welcome the inclusion in the Bill for broader information, such as right of access to birth certificates, birth and early life information.”
The organisation, however, warned of potential issues that could still arise for adopted people availing of the new service.
“The main issues will be in the delivery of this legislation, which is tasked predominantly to TUSLA – an organisation with which there are already significant issues," Ryan-O'Brien said.
"We believe a new agency tasked with the delivery of these services would be far more appropriate, and would also be a much needed move away from organisations with whom adoptees have had such difficulty in the past.
“While the Bill will now allow for significant information, such as fathers’ names, to be released to adoptees, in many instances there was no name recorded on file.
"We call on Minister O’Gorman to put further provisions in place in order to assist adoptees in identifying their biological parents, where no names have been recorded."
Aitheantas opposed the mandatory information session in the event that one or both of the adoptee's birth parents had chosen to receive no contact.
“While we welcome the publication of this long-overdue Bill, and feel it is a step in the right direction in securing essential access for adoptees to their identity information, we hope that the Minister will continue to listen to those who will be most affected by this legislation and ensure that the information and services outlined are made available as soon as possible,” Ryan-O'Brien concluded.
The new bill is set to be debated this month in the Oireachtas.