Dáil Éireann - Volume 481 - 08 October, 1997
Written Answers. - Adoption Services.
Mr. Broughan Mr. Broughan
118. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Health and Children when he will introduce legislation to provide personal identity information to adult adoptees. [15945/97]
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. Fahey) Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. Fahey)
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. Fahey): At present, access to birth records by adopted persons is restricted under section 22 of the Adoption Act, 1952. Where circumstances permit, an adoption agency will do what it can to facilitate contact between adopted persons and birth relatives by mutual voluntary consent provided it is satisfied, through counselling, that both parties are fully cognisant of the considerations and implications involved in such a step. The increased volume of tracing requests to adoption societies and health boards in recent years is an indication of the strength of feeling and strong desire for information by the parties concerned.
There is a clear need for legislation on this issue in order to provide a structured, coherent and equitable post-adoption contact system. However, it would be prudent to await clarification of a number of constitutional and other legal issues surrounding the question of access to birth records, heard by the Supreme Court in July, before proceeding with legislation in this very sensitive area of human relationships. The issues heard by the Supreme Court go to the very heart of post-adoption contact as they deal with the right of a child to know the identity of its birth mother and the right of the birth mother to confidentiality. It is expected that the Supreme Court will deliver its judgment in the case shortly.
Dáil Éireann 481 Written Answers. Adoption Services.