President Higgins signs law allowing adoptees access to their birth information

President Higgins signs law allowing adoptees access to their birth information

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has signed the Birth Information and Tracing Bill 2022, which gives adopted people access to their early life and birth information.

It had been brought forward by Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman, who said he sincerely hopes "that this law finally provides the answers that so many have sought for so long."

The bill allows an adopted person to gain access to their birth certificate, baptism certs, birth, early life and care information, and also allows for such information to be passed on to a next of kin in the event of an adopted person who died as a child.

Information and tracing services will open in October of this year and applications for records can be made to the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

An information campaign is scheduled to run from early July which will see every household contacted and informed about what the plans involve.

Current legislation means adopted people are not entitled to their birth certificate or to information about their families of origin.

However, under the new law, even if a biological parent says they don’t want their child to get their birth cert or related information, the adopted person will still get access.

In the Seanad, some changes to the legislation were fought for by adoption campaigners before the president signed off on it.

One of the changes included the term 'birth mother' being changed to 'mother' in the text as campaigners labelled the term reductive.

Now, Minister O'Gorman will have to sign a commencement order, ending decades of blocks against people seeking their birth information.