News & Media

Labour Introduces Bill in Seanad to Improve Access to Birth Information for Adopted People

5 March 2021

Statement by Senator Ivana Bacik
Seanad Group Leader and Spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration

Today, Friday 5th March, Labour Seanad Group Leader, Senator Ivana Bacik will introduce the Labour Party’s Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2021 in the Seanad. If enacted, this Bill will amend the Adoption Act 2010 to provide adopted persons with the right to access their birth certificates.

Senator Bacik said:

“This afternoon in the Seanad I will be introducing a Labour Party Bill to provide improved access to birth information and tracing for adopted people. If enacted, our Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2021 would amend the Adoption Act 2010 to provide adopted persons with the right to access their birth certificates.

“There has never been an absolute ban on providing this information enabling a link to be made between the register of births and the register of adoptions: both the Adoption Authority and a court have always been entitled to order the production of records that enable an applicant to trace the link. However, at present, we believe that current State policy is overly skewed towards privacy rights, with the presumed wish for privacy of a birth mother overriding the adopted adult’s right to know their own identity. Our Bill would simply reverse that presumption.

“This legislation seeks to carry out the wishes of survivors of Mother and Baby Homes, and other adopted persons, in providing them with the right to access their birth certificates. That wish has been expressed to us in the Labour Party in the strongest of terms by adopted persons; as has it been extensively documented in the media in recent months, including on Wednesday’s harrowing RTÉ Investigates Programme on illegal adoption.

“The urgent need to legislate for robust and effective information and tracing rights for adopted persons is clear – and successive governments have spent years examining how best to formulate such legislation. I urge the Government to vindicate this right to information without further delay.”