Adopted people to gain legal right to access birth certificates

Adopted people to gain legal right to access birth certificates

Roderic O'Gorman

Adopted people will gain the legal right to access their birth certificates under proposed new government legislation.

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman yesterday published the general scheme of the Birth Information and Tracing Bill, which will enshrine in law a right to access birth and early life information for people who have questions in relation to their origins.

The legislation will encompass all people who may have a question in relation to their origins and will support access to the broad range of birth, early life, care and medical information that may be contained in institutional or other records.

Over and above access to information and records, the legislation also establishes a comprehensive tracing service for people who want to make contact, share information or request information from a birth relative.

It also establishes a new statutory contact preference register, where people will be able to record their preference in relation to having contact with birth relatives, as well as where they wish to lodge, for the attention of a specified relative, communications, contemporary medical information or requests for information.

Separate proposals to address issues related to illegal birth registration will go out for consultation in the coming months.

Mr O’Gorman said: “For too long, adopted people and others have struggled with unanswered questions in relation to their identity and origins, and have felt the acute distress and inequity of that.

“This is why the government is bringing forward this proposed legislation which will unlock access to crucial information on a person’s origins; information which has been beyond their reach for too many years.”

The minister added: “This complex and comprehensive legislation has to balance rights to identity with rights to privacy in a fair and compassionate way. This is not an easy task and I have worked intensively with the Attorney General to find a solution grounded in GDPR which guarantees a right of access to information which is central to a person’s identity, whilst respecting the privacy rights of others and ensuring support for all parties.

“I look forward to consulting with stakeholders and engaging with TDs and Senators on these legislative proposals. My hope is that, by working in a focused, collaborative way, we can advance this legislation quickly in the interests of the affected individuals.”

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