I am aware of the Council motions referred to by the Deputy and that these motions request that my Department allows adoptees access their own information.
The Adoption (Information & Tracing) Bill is at Committee stage in Seanad Eireann. It has always been the policy intention of the Bill to provide for the greatest possible release of birth information to adopted persons, consistent with the legal and constitutional framework.
An initial debate took place in the Seanad on Wednesday, 12 June and on June 19 the House took the decision to 'pause' the legislation and instead allow for statements on adoption. My legal advice is that some protection of birth parents' constitutional right to privacy must be reflected in the legislation. There are two rights at play, the right to identity and the right to privacy, and the Bill must seek to harmonise these rights. In my recent amendments, I sought to provide for the release of identifying information with the minimum restrictions possible.
I recognise that there are strong views on and opposition to the privacy provisions in the Bill, and to the revised scheme set out in my proposed amendments for Committee Stage. Accordingly I have formed the view that further consultation is required to seek to identify a more acceptable mechanism for the release of information.
I have therefore embarked on further consultations with Members of the Oireachtas and with stakeholder groups, to seek to reach a consensus 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.