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Adoption Legislation

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 22 February 2017

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Questions (239, 240, 247, 248, 255, 256, 283, 284)

Clare Daly

Question:

239. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will grant adopted persons unfettered access to their birth certificates and adoption records. [9128/17]

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Clare Daly

Question:

240. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will remove the proposed undertaking in section 41 of the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016. [9129/17]

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Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

247. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will grant adopted persons unfettered access to their birth certificates and adoption records. [9156/17]

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Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

248. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will remove the proposed undertaking in section 41 of the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016. [9157/17]

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Róisín Shortall

Question:

255. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will grant adopted persons unfettered access to their birth certificates and adoption records. [9260/17]

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Róisín Shortall

Question:

256. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will remove the proposed undertaking in section 41 of the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016. [9261/17]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

283. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will grant adopted persons unfettered access to their birth certificates and adoption records. [9058/17]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

284. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she has considered removing the proposed undertaking in section 41 of the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016. [9059/17]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 239, 240, 247, 248, 255, 256, 283 and 284 together.

An adopted person aged 18 years or over who was adopted before the proposed legislation comes into operation, will be provided with his/her birth certificate information, as held on record, following a request to Tusla, subject to certain conditions.

Where an adoption order was made before the proposed legislation comes into operation, birth certificate information will be provided to an adopted person, after he/she has given an undertaking agreeing not to contact or attempt to contact his/her birth parent or not to ask anyone else to make or attempt to make contact on his/her behalf. This undertaking must be given except where the birth parent is deceased or is seeking to have contact with or willing to be contacted by the adopted person.

I am aware of the concerns of some adopted persons in relation to the need for the provision of an undertaking. However for the Bill to be legally sound, it must ensure that the birth parents’ right to privacy is protected as required in Irish constitutional law. This is one of the most important measures to protect this right, which includes, for example:

- enabling a birth parent to register his or her name on the Register of Adoption Contact Enquiries and to express his or her contact preferences;

- notifying a birth parent (whose name is entered on Register) in advance of the proposed release of birth certificate information and providing that parent with an opportunity to provide the Agency with a statement setting out his or her view that there are 'compelling reasons' as to why the information should not be released;

- offering support and guidance to both parties.

- Additionally, an awareness campaign will be undertaken during the first six months after commencement, to alert the relevant persons to the intention to release information to enable an adopted person to obtain his or her birth certificate (or a copy of his or her adoption order).

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