I propose to take Questions Nos. 40 and 52 together.
The Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and certain related Matters) Records, and another Matter, Bill 2020 was published on 8th October following Government approval.
The Bill was considered and passed all stages in the Seanad last week. I will be bringing forward a number of amendments this week, at Dáil Committee stage, in relation to the legitimate expectations of individuals who engaged with the Commission’s Confidential Committee module, and to ensure a complete copy of all the records in the archive will be deposited with my Department at the completion of the process.
I look forward to engaging with members of the House on this important matter.
The urgent necessity for the Records Bill is to ensure the Commission's database, and related records, are preserved and available to support current and future tracing services. The Bill ensures we protect the opportunities provided by this invaluable digitised and searchable information so we can support its appropriate use now and into the future.
In addition, the legislation provides that the records to be deposited with my Department are preserved in full as appropriate.
It must be emphasised that unrestricted use or open public access to the information contained in the database is not being proposed. Importantly, in bringing forward this Bill, it is not possible to provide a basis for any new entitlement or right of access by individuals to these records.
Access to personal information held in these records will continue to be regulated by the Adoption Act 2010, GDPR and Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act, having regard to the constitutional rights of third parties.
However, I am absolutely committed to addressing the wider matter of providing a new architecture surrounding access to birth information and tracing and this will be advanced soon. I look forward to engaging widely to allow all those with a stake in this process to have their voices heard.