The Constitutional and legal barriers to providing access to adoption records, including birth certificates, without the consent of the birth mother have been repeatedly highlighted. The Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill will address this matter but the legislature will be constrained in the nature of any access which can be granted to adoption records by these legal issues. My Department is continuing to consult with the Office of the Attorney General on this and on a number of related issues. One reason for the discussions with the Attorney General is to continue to examine precisely how this can be done in the context of strong legal advice about the constitutional protection of the rights of the natural mother to privacy. I will continue to explore how far the Government can go in the legislation to provide for access to information without breaching the Constitution.
I intend to submit the Heads of Bill for Government approval as soon as these issues have been addressed. Once approved by Government, the Heads of Bill will be sent to the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children for its detailed consideration. The process of sending the Heads of Bill to that Committee will ensure that the provisions of the proposed legislation will be subject to public scrutiny and it is open to that Committee to invite submissions from all interested parties.