Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Questions (92)

Maureen O'Sullivan


92. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to complaints made by natural parents regarding invasion of privacy in relation to an adopted person seeking contact with the natural parent; the way in which she can address these concerns; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29958/19]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I have received a considerable amount of correspondence on the issue of the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016, including from natural parents and people who were adopted as children. If the Deputy has a specific case in mind I would encourage them to send any relevant correspondence on to me.

I am aware that there are cases where natural parents have concerns about invasion of privacy in the context of an adopted person seeking contact. In particular I am conscious of cases where natural mothers fear that they will have no say as to whether they could be contacted.  

It is important to bear in mind that the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 is concerned with individual’s access to information, rather than establishing contact between people. Notwithstanding this, the Adoption (information and Tracing) Bill 2016 recognises that there can be a conflict between the right to privacy of one party, and the right to information on the part of another. The Bill seeks to balance these rights. I have engaged at length with the Attorney General on this very issue.  

The Deputy will be aware that I recently informed the Seanad that the legal advice available to me is that the natural parent’s constitutional right to privacy must be reflected in the legislation. I am currently engaging with members of the Oireachtas and with stakeholder groups to reach a consensus on balancing these rights which will allow the legislation to progress.  

Pending the outcome of these engagements, I hope to be in a position to bring the Bill back to Seanad Éireann in the autumn.