Just 137 of 15,000 people to be moved to new adoption register

The National Adoption Contact Preference Register (NACPR), run by the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI), was introduced in 2005 to enable contact between adopted people and their birth relatives.

Just 137 of 15,000 people to be moved to new adoption register

Just 137 of the almost 15,000 adopted people and natural mothers people on the national adoption tracing register will be automatically transferred onto the Government's planned new register.

The National Adoption Contact Preference Register (NACPR), run by the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI), was introduced in 2005 on a non-statutory basis and is a voluntary register to enable contact between adopted people and their birth relatives.

At the end of 2018, there were around 14,130 entries on the register, made up of 9,700 adopted people and 4,300 birth relatives.

Under the planned Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016, this register will be replaced with a statutory register operated by Tusla.

However, the legislation only provides for the transfer of no-contact preferences of natural mothers from the current register to the new register.

Figures released by the AAI show that since it was set up in 2005, just 137 (5.3%) out of the 2,550 birth mothers who registered for the NACPR have listed some form of no contact.

This means that all of the almost 10,000 adopted people and well over 2,000 or 95% of natural mothers on the NACPR will have to formally re-apply to be included on the planned new Tusla register.

AAI chief executive Patricia Carey queried the wisdom of closing a register with almost 15,000 entries compiled over more than 15 years and to then ask virtually of all those people to reapply for a new register.

"For the people who registered in 2005, it's very difficult for them to do it again. Why would you shut down an existing register with 15,000 entries on it and require virtually all of those people to re-apply and re-register? Why would you discriminate against the adopted people on the register?

A lot of those people might find it very difficult to register again. They might not have the capacity to, they may no longer have the support around them to do it again.

"Many people may just presume they will be on the new register as they are on the old one," she said.

Claire McGettrick of the Adoption Rights Alliance said the figures proved that the Government's view that there was a significant number of natural mothers fearing contact from their now adult children as a justification for its "draconian" adoption and tracing legislation "has no basis in fact".

"The false contention that a significant number of natural mothers are living in fear of their now-adult children is based on less than a quarter of a percent of the total number of natural mothers.

Yet it represents a critical justification for the Government's draconian position regarding adopted people's access to their personal data through the Adoption (Information & Tracing) Bill 2016, which, if passed, would mean a gross violation of adopted people's rights.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) has previously defended the decision not to transfer all the entries by stating that, because the new register will hold a wider range of information than currently recorded on the NACPR, “the policy rationale was that a better outcome would be achieved by contacting all those on the NACPR to invite them to make an entry on the new register”.

It pointed out that “all those currently on the NACPR will be notified of the establishment of the new register and invited to make an entry on it” and that the NACPR data will be available to Tusla for information and tracing purposes.

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