Over 2,500 applications for birth certificates and early life records made under Ireland's new adoption legislation

Over 2,500 applications for birth certificates and early life records made under Ireland's new adoption legislation

THE Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) has received 2,570 applications for birth certificates and early life information under new legislation which grants them access to their records for the first time.

Today the AAI published its annual report, which details the introduction of the historic Birth Information and Tracing Act 2022.

The new legislation allows people adopted in Ireland to access their birth records and early life documents which were previously withheld from them.

The report also shows that 1,944 people registered their details on the AAI’s Contact Preference Register (CPR) between 2021 and 2022; which compares to 540 who registered their details in the previous 12 months.

Established in 2005, the CPR was set up to allow people involved in the adoption process in Ireland to confirm their wishes about having contact with birth family members.

The AAI’s staff almost doubled last year, from 29 to 52 employees, which the report confirms was “largely temporarily to process birth information applications” following the introduction of the new adoption laws.

The new Birth Information and Tracing Act 2022 gives adopted people in Ireland the right to access their birth records

Orlaith Traynor, Chairperson of the AAI board, said today: “The new legislation represented a seismic change in our adoption landscape and was enthusiastically greeted by the board.

“For many years, people adopted here in Ireland were denied access to their birth certificates, birth early life and care information and medical information.

“The new legislation confirmed the right of adopted people to be provided with information as to their identity and origins, where available.”

She added: “It also placed the CPR, which has been in existence for a number of years, on a statutory footing.

“The board welcomed the significant numbers of applications received, which was greater than anticipated.”

Ms Traynor went on to confirm that the organisation would continue its mission to “ensure the highest possible standards of adoption related services throughout the life-long adoption process with the best interests of children as the first and paramount objective”.

Welcoming today’s report, Ireland’s Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman said: “I am very happy to receive the annual report of the Adoption Authority of Ireland for 2022.

“I would especially like to highlight the continuing work of the Authority on the implementation of the Birth Information and Tracing Act."

He added: “I recall the very successful Public Information Campaign and the launch of the contact preference register which supported the opening of information and tracing services under the Act in October last year.

“My Department looks forward to continuing to work with and support the Authority in delivering their mission and strategic plan in the year ahead.”

While publishing the report, the AAI confirmed that it had now caught up in processing the backlog of information release applications that had occurred since the new legislation came into effect.

AAI’s interim CEO, Colm O’leary said: “The Board and staff of the Authority understand that applicants may have been waiting on this information for many years.

“I am glad that the Authority will shortly be responding to information requests within the statutory timeframes.

“We are very mindful of how important this information is to adoptees, those boarded-out or nursed-out and those who were the subject of incorrect birth registrations.

“I regret that the initial surge in applications delayed the release of information to many and appreciate the understanding shown by those who have requested information.”