Email Your TDs and Senators

PEOPLE AFFECTED BY ADOPTION AND MOTHER AND BABY HOMES NEED YOUR HELP

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman published the Birth Information and Tracing Bill on 12th January 2022. 

Despite receiving hundreds of communications from adopted people, mothers and relatives, the Minister has ignored the objections and concerns of affected people in this Bill. He has also ignored many of the key recommendations of the Oireachtas Children’s Committee.

Instead of providing adopted people with unconditional access to their birth certificates and records, the Bill imposes a mandatory and offensive Information Session on people whose parents have registered a no contact preference, and ignores the information rights of most mothers and relatives. The people affected by Ireland’s institutional and forced family separation system have been waiting decades for this legislation, but as written it will do more harm than good.

You can read more about the main issues with the Bill below. You can read further details and the evidence corroborating our concerns in our Briefing Note. Click here for an overview of our criticism and commentary on the Bill. Download our flyer here

What can you do to help?

Click here to email your local TDs and Senators. Please ask them to vote in favour of amendments that will guarantee the rights of people affected by forced family separation to automatic access to birth certs and files.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE BIRTH INFORMATION AND TRACING  BILL?

There is no automatic access to birth certificates and no rights to all personal files held by the State, religious orders and adoption agencies. 

The Bill proposes that State officials will choose what sections of the file to release, which is in breach of affected people’s rights to their personal data under the EU GDPR, rights enshrined under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and their rights under the Irish Constitution. There is no mechanism for mothers and relatives to access information unless the children in question died in certain institutions. This Bill discriminates against all those affected by forced family separation: adopted people, their parents and relatives.

We want the file, the whole file and nothing but the file

Before the release of birth certificates, some adopted people must attend a mandatory information session about their parents’ privacy rights. 

Over the past 17 years just 156 parents have registered that they do not want contact with their adult children. Adopted people are singled out for discriminatory and offensive treatment in breach of their rights under EU law and their rights under the Irish Constitution.

No one should be left behind

The proposed system for releasing limited information is in breach of EU law, bewilderingly cumbersome, and in some cases involves numbers of different personnel across State agencies. Tusla will be the sole agency providing family tracing services unless a Minister directs otherwise. 

If enacted, this system will be unnecessarily intrusive, will breach affected people’s rights under EU law and will cause long delays. There is no mechanism to appeal decisions on the release of records or complain about poor service or discrimination. 

We need transparency and accountability