Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
1158. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if calls by adoptees to have an automatic right to access their own information, including their own birth name and automatic access to their own birth certificate will be supported. [6862/20]
Over the term of 32nd Dáil I endeavoured to progress the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill, 2016 which, amongst other provisions, provided for access to birth information for adopted people.
There were provisions in the Bill, often referred to as 'privacy provisions', which provided for balancing the rights of adopted persons to their birth information with the rights of privacy of birth parents. These were based on legal advice that there must be some protection of birth parents' constitutional right to privacy reflected in the legislation. There are two rights at play, the right to identity and the right to privacy, and legislation must seek to harmonise these rights.
It is well known that these privacy provisions were not popular with stakeholder groups who want unrestricted access to identity information and to birth certificates. I held a number of consultations with them and with Members of the Oireachtas seeking to reach a consensus on a mechanism for the release of information which would balance the Constitutional rights of birth parents and adopted people. Work was ongoing on reaching a consensus on this matter on the dissolution of the Dáil.
My own view is steadfast: legislation in this area must be progressed to ensure that adopted people and others can access their birth certificates and know their origins. However, any further decisions on this will fall to my successor, the incoming Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.