Controversial adoption information legislation to be dropped

Controversial adoption information legislation to be dropped

Dr Katherine Zappone

Controversial legislative plans to give adopted people access to their birth records have been dropped due to a failure to reach agreement with stakeholders.

In a statement, Children’s Minister Dr Katherine Zappone said the decision was taken following a period of “intensive briefings and consultations” on the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016.

However, the bill will be revised to take forward other matters where agreement has been reached, namely safeguarding of records, placing the National Adoption Contact Preference Register on a statutory footing, and tracing for the purposes of reunion/contact.

The bill will create new criminal offences for anyone who is found to have destroyed, concealed, altered an adoption record.

Dr Zappone said: “After a period of intensive briefings and consultations I am pleased to be in a position to progress these important elements that will impact positively on the services provided to adoptees, their birth families and their wider families who are seeking contact with each other.

“The revisions to the Bill that I am now proposing to pursue will mean that important personal adoption and related records will be transferred to the Adoption Authority of Ireland to be appropriately safeguarded.”

She added: “I would like to sincerely thank those who have given me their views and opinions on this matter and who have supported me in my efforts to seek consensus to progress these matters.

“I am personally deeply disappointed that it has not proved possible to reach a consensus on the complex and emotive issue of the release of birth information and that this issue must be set aside for now.

“I hope this can be progressed in the future, but my priority, for now, is to move forward with those issues on which there is general consensus.”

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