Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, has welcomed the launch of a booklet on the Birth Information and Tracing Act 2022 to be delivered to every household in Ireland. It will also be sent to other residential settings across the country, while thousands of copies will be distributed to people living overseas through Ireland’s network of embassies.
The booklet is a central component of the public information campaign which commenced on 1 July with the aim of ensuring that the public is well informed on the new law. Delivery of the booklet to all households nationally, as well as internationally, will take a number of weeks to achieve.
Highlighting the development, Minister O’Gorman noted, “This historic legislation will provide a full and clear right of access to birth certificates, birth and early life information for all persons who were adopted, boarded out, the subject of an illegal birth registration or who otherwise have questions in relation to their origins. It finally and conclusively addresses the wrongful denial of people’s identity rights over many decades in this State.”
“ It is important that everyone who may be affected by this new legislation is aware of the changes to the law and what they may mean for them. The delivery of a booklet to every household is a way of ensuring that people will have the opportunity to read about these changes, and the new services and supports being made available, in the privacy of their own home and in their own time. I want people to be clear on their rights under the Act and to also know that counselling and support is there for those who need it.”
The Birth Information and Tracing Act 2022 provides a clear right for each person to full access to all of his or her birth, early life, care and medical information.
The new law sees the establishment of a robust tracing service and a Contact Preference Register, as well as a range of new bespoke measures to address issues arising for people affected by illegal birth registration.
A broad spectrum of counselling and support is also available on request. All of these services will be free of charge for applicants.
The legislation will also guarantee the safeguarding of important records and is, therefore, a valuable foundational step in the development of the planned National Centre for Research and Remembrance.
The Birth Information and Tracing Act 2022 is being commenced in a phased way. At the beginning of this month (July 2022), a new Contact Preference Register, operated by Adoption Authority of Ireland, opened for applications.
This Register empowers people to record their preferences in relation to contact with others and the sharing and receiving of information. The Act provides that the Contact Preference Register must be open for a minimum period of 3 months before applications for birth certificate and related birth information will be accepted. In October 2022, Information and Tracing services under the legislation will open. From this time, applications for records can be made to the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.