Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Anne Rabbitte TD, has said the rights and needs of adopted persons must be reflected in law and that the Oireachtas must recognise the right of adopted persons to their identity.

Deputy Rabbitte was speaking as the Adoption (Information and Tracing Bill) 2016 was debated in the Seanad today.

She commented, “This Bill is an important first step for people who have been adopted and want to know basic facts about their own background and identity. At present we do not have legislation which affords adopted people this right.

“There remains concerns for both adoptees and their parents in terms of how the new system will operate. The Minister must engage with all stakeholders to ensure their concerns and views are acknowledged in this Bill. Further amendments may be needed to the Bill.

“I have my uncertainties regarding some elements of the Bill and look forward to debating these with the Minister. They include the decision regarding the release of birth certificates where a birth parent objects and whether enough resources will be made available to ensure that the new information service operates in a timely manner.

“A recent response to a parliamentary question showed that adopted people seeking a meeting with a social worker in order to trace their identity are waiting up to 40 months, just to be assigned a social worker. That is not right, and more resources need to be allocated to ensure that this does not recur under this new legislation.  

“We have never fully addressed Ireland’s information and tracing service for adopted persons. We have an opportunity to get this right and all efforts should be made to ensure we deliver robust legislation,” concluded Deputy Rabbitte.