Steady demand for birth information under new legislation

Steady demand for birth information under new legislation

THE IRISH government’s Birth Information and Tracing Act 2022, brought in last month, has already seen a total of 891 adopted persons and relatives apply to the new Contact Preference Register for details on their adoption details.

The greatest number of applications from outside Ireland came from the UK, with 50 people registering contact preferences. Next was the US with 17 applications, followed by Australia with four.

The landmark legislation, enacted on July 1, provides all adoptees with the legal entitlement to full and unrestricted access to birth certificates, birth, early life, care, and medical information for any person who was adopted, boarded out, had their birth illegally registered, or who otherwise has questions in relation to their origins.

The new law also establishes a Contact Preference Register (CPR) which is operated by the Adoption Authority of Ireland. Applications can be made by those wishing to make contact, to request privacy, or to seek or share information with a relative. The Adoption Authority has launched an awareness campaign in Britain, the US and elsewhere so that adoptees know they can apply to find out their details.

Of the 891 people who applied to register their preferences in relation to contact, 786 applications were from adoptees, 90 were from birth parents, and 15 were other relatives.

There were 820 people who expressed a preference for contact at some level. There were 32 people who expresseda desire for no contact (24 adoptees and 8 relatives) while 39 applicants (30 adoptees and nine relatives) did not want contact but were willing to share information.

The oldest applicant to the CPR was 81, while the youngest, aged five, had an application submitted by their adoptive parents. The mean age of both adoptees and relatives was 50.

Patricia Carey, CEO of the Adoption Authority, said: “We are very encouraged by the number of people who have registered on the Contact Preference Register. These are mostly adoptees – but also birth parents and other relatives.

“Come October, when the free services under the legislation open, adoptees will finally have the right to access all of their birth information held by the State. This wasn’t the case previously, so it’s a big deal.

“If they have applied to the Contact Preference Register, the Adoption Authority will also be able to facilitate contact between adoptees and birth parents and other relatives, at a level with which both parties are comfortable.”

More than 48,000 children were adopted from 1953 to 2021. An additional 2,000+ children were sent from Ireland to other countries, including of course Britain, and ‘boarded out’ – sent to live with foster families at a time before 1953 when there was no legal adoption in Ireland.

Ms Carey added: “Most families in Ireland have been touched by adoption at some stage. The Adoption Authority is determined to reach as many people as possible – to let them know they can find out about their origins and to encourage all those eligible under the legislation to register their preferences on the Contact Preference Register.”

In October, both Information and Tracing services under the legislation will open. Applications for these services can be made to the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

A website,, has been established for people seeking to make an application under the Act or seeking further information.