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12 Dec 2019

PRESS RELEASE: Minister Zappone Announces Decision in Relation to Progressing the Adoption (Information & Tracing) Bill, 2016

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Press Release from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Published: 11 December 2019.

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, today announced her decision in relation to progressing the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016. This decision has been made following the Minister's recent period of briefings and consultations with Oireachtas members, the Collaborative Forum and stakeholder groups regarding four possible options on legislative ways forward. 

Despite everyone involved making significant efforts to reach consensus on the issue of release of birth information, it has not proved possible to reach agreement, at this time. However, the Minister considers it prudent and necessary for other important issues to be progressed.

Accordingly, she intends to progress with an option which has received support from the majority of those recently consulted. This option provides for the following matters to be dealt with:

  • Safeguarding of Records;
  • The National Adoption Contact Preference Register to be put on a statutory footing; and
  • Tracing for the purposes of reunion/contact.

The Minister said:

"After a period of intensive briefings and consultations I am pleased to be in a position to progress these important elements that will impact positively on the services provided to adoptees, their birth families and their wider families who are seeking contact with each other. The revisions to the Bill that I am now proposing to pursue will mean that important personal adoption and related records will be transferred to the Adoption Authority of Ireland to be appropriately safeguarded. Offences will be created for anyone found to have destroyed, concealed, altered or falsified a record. To compliment this, the current National Adoption Contact Preference Register will be put on a robust statutory footing. This register provides an invaluable service to those seeking contact and this will ensure its effectiveness and most importantly, its compliance with data protection requirements. For those whose relatives do not register a preference for contact, an application can be made to Tusla to trace that person for the purposes on contact/reunion."

"I would like to sincerely thank those who have given me their views and opinions on this matter and who have supported me in my efforts to seek consensus to progress these matters. I am personally deeply disappointed that it has not proved possible to reach a consensus on the complex and emotive issue of the release of birth information and that this issue must be set aside for now. I hope this can be progressed in the future, but my priority, for now, is to move forward with those issues on which there is general consensus".