Adopted people have a right to their identity says Rabbitte

Galway Daily news Disability day services returning to full capacity from October

People who have been adopted have the right to know the basic facts about their background and identity insists Galway TD Anne Rabbitte.

Speaking as the Adoption (Information and Tracing Bill) 2016 was debated in the Seanad this week Anne Rabbitte said that the rights and needs of adopted people must be enshrined in law.

The Adoption bill aims to provide greater access to birth records for people who have been adopted.

The bill moved to the Seanad for debate this week after being held up by concerns about the privacy of birth parents.

Changes were made to the bill this week proposing that Tusla contact birth parents where a request for information is made by someone who was adopted.

If they object then it is proposed that the decision on whether to release that information will be made by the Adoption Authority of Ireland.

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone has said that the changes balances the rights of people to know where they come from with the right to privacy of parents.

But there has been criticism from adoption rights groups who have said that people have a right to information about themselves, regardless of any privacy concerns.

The Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs said that there “remains concerns for both adoptees and their parents in terms of how the new system will operate”, and added that further amendments to the bill may be needed.

“The Minister must engage with all stakeholders to ensure their concerns and views are acknowledged in this Bill”.

Deputy Rabbitte said she still has concerns about the implementation of the law including how decisions are made whether to release a birth certificate when a birth parent objects.

It is also important, she added, that enough resources are allocated so that requests can be processed in a timely manner.

Right now people who are trying to trace their identity are waiting for up to 40 months just to be assigned a case worker, according to Anne Rabbitte.

“That is not right, and more resources need to be allocated to ensure that this does not recur under this new legislation.”

She finished by saying that Ireland has “never fully addressed” a service for tracing information for adopted persons, and that this is an opportunity to get the process right.