I propose to take Questions Nos. 2573 and 2592 together.
I have received submissions from a range of diverse stakeholders and lobby groups regarding the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 and both myself and my officials have met with many of these groups and individuals both specifically in relation to the Bill and on the sidelines of other fora. I have considered the views expressed in relevant reports and debates on this matter by advocacy groups and by members of the Oireachtas. I have also considered the many representations made to me by members of the public and by stakeholders generally.
Having listened to the views of many stakeholders in relation to the privacy provisions set out in the published Bill, I engaged extensively with the Office of the Attorney General to develop an alternative scheme to provide for the fullest release of information with the minimum restriction possible. I recognise that strong concerns persist, however. It is my view that further consultation is required to seek to identify a more acceptable mechanism for the release of information. The Bill is accordingly on pause while I engage further with members of the Oireachtas and with stakeholder groups to seek to reach a consensus which will allow the legislation to progress.
In recent weeks, I have met with members of the Oireachtas, all of whom who have received representations from stakeholders and the public in relation to the Bill. I have also met with a number of stakeholders including the Adoption Rights Alliance, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and the Council of Irish Adoption Agencies. I will continue to consult with stakeholders and will meet with groups representing natural mothers and individual natural mothers this week.
Pending the outcome of these engagements, I hope to be in a position to bring the Bill back to Seanad Éireann in the Autumn.