The Landmark legislation will, for the first time, enshrine in law a clear right to full birth, early life, care and medical information for all those with questions on their origins
Minister Roderic O’Gorman, TD, has (12 January 2022) published the Birth Information and Tracing Bill 2022.
This landmark legislation will provide a full and clear right of access to birth certificates, birth and early life information for all persons who were adopted, boarded out, the subject of an illegal birth registration or who otherwise have questions in relation to their origins.
The legislation establishes a comprehensive tracing service for persons who want to contact family or who wish to seek or share information. It also establishes a new statutory Contact Preference Register. This register offers a means for people to indicate their preference for contact with family and a mechanism to lodge communications and contemporary medical information which can be shared with family members.
The legislation addresses the issues facing people who are the subject of an illegal birth registration. The Bill will provide a legal mechanism for provision of an accurate birth registration to affected individuals, while remaining mindful of their current identity.
Commenting on the bill, Minister O’Gorman said:
This legislation has been an absolute priority for me. For decades in this country, adopted people have been failed in being denied clear access to their identity information. With this bill, we are restoring to adopted people the information that so many of us take for granted as part of our own, personal stories. The Bill ends Ireland’s outlier status in terms of having legislation that provides access to information about one’s origins.
Over the past year, I have spoken to hundreds of persons affected by adoption, illegal birth registration, the system of boarding out or the legacy of Mother and Baby and County Home Institutions. I know how important this legislation is to so many of them and that is why I am absolutely committed to advancing it as quickly as possible this year.
While the legislation aims to help those with questions on their origins, it also provides important services relating to contact and sharing of information. I hope that these other services will be valuable, not only to adopted persons, but also to mothers seeking contact with, or information on, their adopted child, as well as other family members.”