Civil liberties group slams proposed adoption information bill

Civil liberties group slams proposed adoption information bill

Liam Herrick

Proposed legislation aimed at allowing people separated from their families by adoption to access their own records and histories has been criticised by a civil liberties group as being “unfit for purpose”.

The Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill would gather all adoption and informal care arrangement records into Tusla and the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI), the Irish Examiner reports.

It would allow social workers to give record seekers “statements” which describe the contents of their file but do not provide any information that would identify a natural parent or relative of the applicant.

Furthermore, adopted people could only obtain their birth certificate if they formally undertake that they “will not contact, or attempt to contact, the birth mother, birth father or relevant guardian concerned”.

Liam Herrick, executive director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), called on members of the Oireachtas to commit to improving the bill so that those affected can obtain their “original, unredacted records, rather than nonidentifying summaries created by social workers”.

All records, he said, should be given to an independent body and made readily available to the people whom they are about.

“Without taking this step, the State is continuing to deny the basic rights of tens of thousands of people to their identity, and to respect for their private and family lives.”

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