As I indicated earlier, I have asked an independent reviewer to oversee a further analysis of relevant records held by Tusla and the Adoption Authority in the first instance. The purpose of the exercise is to see if clear evidence of illegal registrations is evident in other records. The first meeting to commence this process took place yesterday and I expect the analysis to be completed four months from when it is initiated. In that regard, I understand that methodological matters are currently being finalised. Given the volume of records involved, we must first judge the likely incidence of cases that can actually be identified through this analysis. I will then be in a position to judge the next steps. Records which are not in the custody of either Tusla or the Adoption Authority cannot be included in the analysis at this stage as the State does not have possession of them. The Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 is the statutory mechanism necessary to bring these records, estimated at about 50,000, into the custody of the Adoption Authority. I am meeting colleagues from both Houses this afternoon to explore how we can progress this legislation as quickly as possible.
The extent to which children were simply placed with couples and their births registered as if they had been born to them is but one of the major issues that we need to examine. The work of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes will be important in dealing with a range of other adoption-related matters. The commission is examining adoption practices in the cases of mothers and children who were resident in the institutions within its terms of reference. The commission is also required to examine the interaction of mother and baby homes with other institutions, organisations and individuals who had involvement with children from these institutions.
For example, it is examining the practices and policies within adoption societies involved in the placement of children from these institutions. This will provide important insight into any irregularities or illegalities. I want to get to the truth. The further analysis, which has commenced, together with the ongoing work of the commission, will be important for our initial steps. I reiterate that I am open to furthering those steps.