Parliamentary Question for the Minister of Children and Youth Affairs (Kathleen Lynch TD).
For WRITTEN ANSWER 15/04/2014
To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the measures she is taking to make it easier for adults, who were adopted as children, to access records relating to their identity, including information on the existence of biological siblings; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
I intend to provide in an Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill for greater access to adoption records and birth information, in so far as is possible and in line with legal advices received, for persons previously involved in adoptions, notwithstanding the significant legal and operational complexities which arise in giving effect to this objective.
I will have the General Scheme and Heads of an Adoption ( Information and Tracing) Bill finalised as soon as possible and submitted for the consideration of Government, in advance of referral to the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children.
Consideration of this matter has identified very complex legal and constitutional issues. It has also become clear that any legal measures will have to be supported by improved processes and services which will facilitate adopted persons and their families in gaining greater access to birth records, where the law permits it.
The legislative proposals will address the circumstances in which identifying and non-identifying information may be provided and examine what processes need to be put in place to assist those seeking information in accessing it. The most difficult situations to address within the proposed legislation are those where the consent of other parties, such as natural mothers, does not exist for the release of information. I intend to proceed to finalise legislative proposals and will bring proposals to the Government as soon as possible. I would hope that the subsequent consideration by the Oireachtas Health and Children Committee will allow the issues to be carefully teased out and the views of different interested parties on these important and sensitive matters to be fully considered.