Dáil debates

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Adoption (Information) Bill 2021: Second Stage [Private Members]


7:40 pm

Photo of Jennifer Murnane O'ConnorJennifer Murnane O'Connor (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

Something I have learned over the past year is that we are all interested in working together. It might not seem like that sometimes, but this Bill is proof of that. Deputies Pringle and Connolly are on the same page as the Government when it comes to adoption and tracing, which is why we will not oppose this Bill.

As Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on children and a member of the Committee on Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, I have had many discussions and worked on the Government's legislation, which will enshrine in law a right to access birth certificates and birth and early life information for people with origin questions. Like the Minister, I will compliment the committee. It is important to recognise that those Deputies and Senators have worked hard.

The purpose of our birth information and tracing Bill is to recognise the importance of a person knowing his or her origins and to achieve this through the full release of birth certificates, birth and early life information, and care and medical information for all who were adopted, boarded out, the subject of illegal birth registrations or otherwise have questions about their origins. It will establish a robust and comprehensive tracing service and a statutory contact preference register to support people wishing to make contact or share information. It will unlock access to records for those affected by an illegal birth registration and offer a way to find clarity on identity, which matters. It provides for the safeguarding of relevant records and will create offences of destroying, falsifying or mutilating those records. Importantly, it will also provide for unfettered access.

Adopted people have been fighting for too long. Since the 1990s, the Adoption Rights Alliance has been providing information to assist adoptees and others affected by adoption in locating birth certificates and obtaining adoption records. It also has an information guide for adopted people. Over the past three decades, adopted people have used these methodologies to obtain their birth certificates. We need to assist those who want and need their records.

I congratulate Deputies Pringle and Connolly, who have worked closely with the Clann Project. I firmly believe in something that Deputy Connolly mentioned, in that this is about basic rights and our survivors. It is also about timing, though, and it is important that we get the timing right.


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