Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Questions (78)

Joan Burton


78. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to ensure adopted persons have a right to tracing information on their birth families and particularly birth parents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51557/19]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

As the Deputy knows, there are strong views on the privacy provisions in the Adoption (Information & Tracing) Bill, 2016 and to the revised scheme set out in my proposed amendments for Committee Stage.

My legal advice is that there must be some protection of birth parents' constitutional right to privacy reflected in the legislation. There are two rights at play, the right to identity and the right to privacy, and legislation must seek to harmonise these rights. However, I fully recognise this advice is contrary to the desire of advocates for unrestricted access to identity information and to birth certificates.

During the summer, I held a number of consultations with Members of the Oireachtas and with stakeholder groups, to seek to reach a consensus which will allow the legislation to progress. More recently, I have consulted further in relation to a number of specific options for progressing the Bill. I am now considering the responses I have received, and I hope to be in a position to revert to Oireachtas members and stakeholders shortly.