In March 2021, following publication of the Independent Review into Illegal Birth Registration, I asked Professor Conor O’Mahony, the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, to consider the significant complexities and challenges which arise in relation to the issue of illegal birth registrations, and to provide a report proposing an appropriate course of action. On 14th March 2022 I published the report which sets out 17 numbered recommendations.
Recommendations 8 to 12 of the report by the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection relate to the establishment of a Specialist Tracing Team. The Government response to these recommendations, which I published on 14th March 2022 alongside the Special Rapporteur's report, stated that Government fully accepts the right of a person to be informed of the fact of a confirmed illegal birth registration and committed to the creation of a specialist tracing service.
In April, I introduced amendments to the Birth Information and Tracing Bill 2022 at Dáil Report Stage to provide for this specialist tracing service. These measures will ensure that any person who suspects that they may have been the subject of an illegal birth registration (“relevant person”) will have a right to request an expedited review of their case. They will also provide the legislative basis for the Minister to request that Tusla or the AAI undertake a review of files to establish if any further cases of illegal birth registration can be confirmed.
The Birth Information and Tracing Bill was passed by Dáil Éireann on 27 April 2022. It completed Second Stage in Seanad Éireann on 10 April 2022 and must now progress through Committee, Report and Final Stages. The legislation remains a priority for me, and I am committed to progressing it swiftly with a view to timely enactment this year. This, in turn, will provide the lawful basis for me to issue a formal request to Tusla to undertake a review of files in line with the relevant recommendations of the Special Rapporteur.