Thursday, 16 September 2021
Adoption (Information) Bill 2021: Second Stage [Private Members]
I welcome the debate in the House today. I want to acknowledge all the Deputies who have contributed. I wish to thank Deputies Connolly, Pringle and Joan Collins and the Independent Group for bringing forward the Bill. I think all Deputies in this House recognise the background of the issues giving rise to this initiative.
The issue addressed in this Bill, that of access to adoptees to birth information, is hugely important and I fully agree with the Minister, Deputy O'Gorman's approach to not oppose this Private Members' Bill. Given that the issues to be resolved in terms of access to information are wider than those articulated in this Private Members' Bill, I welcome the Minister's work in progressing birth information and tracing Bill. I agree that this comprehensive legislation will be the best way to serve the needs of adoptees and survivors.
This Private Members' Bill seeks to help adoptees gain access to their birth information by amending the Adoption Acts, something we all agree on. Without opposing this Private Members' Bill, I am confident that the Minister's forthcoming legislation will deal with all of the issues pertaining to the sensitive and complex issue in a robust and comprehensive way.
The issues addressed by the Private Members' Bill before us this evening is hugely important but unfortunately that is not the only issue to be addressed. We must recognise that in addition to adoptees, there is also a group of people whose births were illegally registered, their true birth registration may not have been recorded accurately, or where their origins were obscured by informal processes where little or no records were maintained. As mentioned by the Minister, there are people whose birth certificates will not record a father's name. The Minister's forthcoming Bill will provide solutions for people in such situations. I agree with Deputies when they call on the Government to provide long-term solutions fast. I join the Minister, Deputy O'Gorman, in thanking the joint committee for prioritising pre-legislative scrutiny of the birth information and tracing Bill.
I reiterate my support for the debate and my engagement on this issue. I look forward to the Minister publishing his Bill.