Govt shelves plans to allow adopted people access to birth records

The Government has shelved plans to give adopted people automatic access to their birth information and records in its delayed information and tracing legislation.

Govt shelves plans to allow adopted people access to birth records

The Government has shelved plans to give adopted people automatic access to their birth information and records in its delayed information and tracing legislation.

Earlier this month, children's minister Katherine Zappone wrote to adoption rights stakeholders about the paused Adoption Information and Tracing Bill, advising them that it was the Attorney General's view that it is "constitutionally unacceptable to allow unrestricted access to birth information for adopted people".

Under the legislation, Tusla was to attempt to locate and contact both natural parents as soon as an adopted person requests access to their own early life and adoption files.

Where the natural parent did not consent to the release of the information, both parties were to make their case before the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI).

These proposals met with stiff resistance from adopted people and natural mothers who wanted to have full access to their birth information.

Ms Zappone proposed four options for stakeholders to consider in order to move the Bill forward.

In a statement, Ms Zappone said that "despite everyone involved making significant efforts to reach consensus on the issue of release of birth information, it has not proved possible to reach agreement" and that this issue "must be set aside for now".

However, Ms Zappone said the Government would now proceed with the option which received most support from the majority of the stakeholders consulted.

This option removes all provisions of the Bill relating to information access and instead provide only for the safeguarding of records, tracing for the purposes of reunion and for the National Adoption Contact Preference Register (NACPR) run by the AAI to be placed on a statutory footing. Offences will also be created for anyone found to have destroyed, concealed, altered or falsified a record.

This story has been amended

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