The President has spoken out in support of adopted people who have been denied information on their backgrounds.
It is estimated 60,000 adopted people in this country have no automatic right to their birth records.
President Higgins spoke as he prepared to begin a series of 50 events aimed at increasing awareness and discussion of ethics in Ireland.
He told Newstalk Radio something should be done for people looking for basic information.
"The one thing I think is horrific is that where information has been denied, where there has been no attempt to meet the reasonable requests of people for basic information," he said.
"Where the state ahs been responsible, the state has to take responsibility - where institutions have been responsible, they have to take responsibility."