Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (639, 647, 651)

Gary Gannon

Ceist:

639. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the independently appointed Collaborative Forum of Former Residents of Mother and Baby Homes specifically and repeatedly recommended to his Department that the task of managing information and tracing be removed from Tusla on the basis that they experienced the behaviour of the agency to be demoralising and frustrating and damaging and retraumatising (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27308/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gary Gannon

Ceist:

647. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a group (details supplied) proposed amendments to the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 and several Senators submitted amendments at Seanad Committee Stage that would provide all adopted persons with their birth certificate following an information session as a proportionate measure to respect the rights of all concerned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27316/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gary Gannon

Ceist:

651. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration his views on whether the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 made no provision for natural mothers to access their own personal data; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27320/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 639, 647 and 651 together.

As the Deputy will know, the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 has lapsed and I am currently considering the complex matters involved before deciding on how best to legislate in this important area. In that context, I am aware of the Report of the Collaborative Forum and the views expressed regarding Tusla being tasked with an information and tracing service.

I am also aware of the amendments proposed at Seanad Committee stage on the 2016 Bill in relation to a proposed information session and I know that this concept is acceptable to many stakeholder groups. However, there are constitutional considerations in that regard, specifically in relation to the right to privacy. The legal advice received from the Attorney General at that time was that the proposed information session would not adequately vindicate the privacy rights of birth parents.

The Deputy refers to the Bill having made no provision for natural mothers to access their own personal data. While I am conscious that the Bill has lapsed, the Deputy will be interested to know that this legislation did not affect any rights under data protection legislation and birth mothers and others could apply for their own data under that legislation, and specifically through the subject access request route.