Revised Birth Information and Tracing Bill Welcome but with Room for Improvement
12 January 2022
Spokesperson on the Enviroment and Climate; Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Labour TD for Dublin Bay South and member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration Ivana Bacik has welcomed the Government’s publication today of the revised Birth Information and Tracing Bill 2022, but has expressed her concerns about aspects of the Bill.
Deputy Bacik said:
“The publication of this important and long-overdue legislation is welcome. Survivors of Mother and Baby and County Homes and all adopted persons have been waiting decades for recognition of the right to information on their identity. Campaigners have been crying out for legislation to provide them with access to their birth certs and information about their adoption and origins, and this is something that the Labour Party has worked hard to achieve. In early 2021, I published legislation to facilitate information and tracing for adopted persons and challenged the Government to make good on its commitment to do the same. I am pleased that Minister O’Gorman has responded positively to these calls.
“As a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, I participated extensively in pre-legislative scrutiny on this legislation, in conjunction with other Oireachtas members and expert witnesses. I look forward to appraising the provisions in this revised Bill over coming days to see how the Minister has responded to the report and the recommendations of our Committee.
“On my first reading, however, I was concerned to see the retention of the controversial information session for those seeking information about their origins. Throughout our Committee meetings, this was raised repeatedly as a concern by privacy experts and adopted persons alike. Thus our Committee recommended deletion of any requirement for a meeting or information session, and it is disappointing to see that some form of information provision requirement is retained in the revised Bill.
“It is vital to listen to those who will be most directly affected by this legislation. The wishes of survivors and adopted persons must be heard. I look forward to continuing to work with campaigners, the Government and others over coming weeks to ensure that the right of to identity will be recognised at last in our laws.”