Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (640)

Gary Gannon

Ceist:

640. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration if instead of transferring records from the archive of the Commission for Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes to Tusla he will transfer the specified database to the Adoption Authority of Ireland until such time as the records can be preserved in an independent centralised archive of all historical injustice records in view of the fact that the authority has been preparing to take possession of all adoption records since publication of the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 (details supplied). [27309/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The rationale for specifying Tusla as the recipient of the database is that the Agency already has statutory responsibility for adoption tracing services under the Adoption Act 2010. In addition, it currently holds the originals of many of the relevant institutional records. As such, the database will provide the agency with an organised, digital system for the records it already holds, supporting the delivery of this important public service.

Tusla already dedicates substantial resources and expertise to carrying out tracing functions, and it is considered the most appropriate statutory body to take immediate possession of the database, given the time restraints. In this way the proposed legislation is interfering with existing arrangements in the most minimal manner.

By contrast, a transfer to any other body, such as the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI), would mean that two different statutory bodies would hold the same records, with Tusla holding the originals and the AAI holding the database and associated copies. Such duplication would be inefficient, lead to confusion and is not the preferred approach at this time.

The immediate and urgent policy intent in drafting a Records Bill is to ensure the Commission's database, and related records, are preserved and available to support current and future tracing services. It is my intention to separately legislate for an enhanced information and tracing service and further consideration will be given to the prescribed body which will carry out these functions in the development of that legislation.