I welcome the Special Rapporteur’s recommendation regarding illegal registrations. The Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill, 2016 will address the recommendation regarding access to information for illegally registered people as they will be able to apply for an information and tracing service on the same basis as adopted people. However, we do know that the practice of illegal birth registrations can be extremely difficult to prove in most instances, often because there was also a deliberate failure of those involved to record any information about it.
The Deputy will be aware that a review of a sample of files within the custody of the State is currently taking place. This process is being overseen by an Independent Reviewer, Marion Reynolds, who is a former Deputy Director of Social Services in Northern Ireland. The findings of this review will assist me in reaching a decision about what, if any, subsequent action might be deemed necessary to identify more fully the scale of illegal birth registrations. I am expecting to receive the report before Easter.