Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
357. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 341 of 8 December 2015, if he will ensure that the Adoption Information and Tracing Bill is brought before Dáil Éireann before the end of this Government, as he did not reply to that aspect of the parliamentary question; his views on the unacceptable nature of the delay that this legislation has encountered within his Department; if he will initiate an inquiry into the matter to rule out the possibility of any administrative bias against adopted persons within the process, given the extraordinarily slow rate of progress since this Bill was first proposed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45087/15]
The Government approved the publication of the Heads and General Scheme of the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2015 last July. The Bill is intended to facilitate access to adoption information and operates on the basis of a presumption in favour of disclosing information in so far as is legally and constitutionally possible. The Bill will, for the first time, provide a statutory basis for the provision of information related to both past and future adoptions. It will provide clarity around the information that can be provided and the circumstances in which it can be provided.
I referred the Bill to the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Health and Children for pre legislative scrutiny and the Committee published their Report recently. My Department examined the recommendations of the Committee, and I met with officials to discuss the Report last week. I have agreed revised proposals on which legal advice will be sought. I hope, subject to this advice, to submit revised proposals to Government in January and to seek Government approval to draft a Bill as a matter of urgency.
I am currently progressing significant improvements in the Irish adoption legislation which stem from the Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2012 incorporating amendments required to the Adoption Act 2010 arising from the Children's Referendum. The Bill is being amended to provide for step parent adoption and other amendments required on foot of the Child and Family Relations Bill.