The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, has today signed the Order providing for Birth Information and Tracing Services under the new Birth Information and Tracing Act to be available from 3 October.
The Birth Information and Tracing Act 2022 was signed into law by President Higgins on 30 June. Minister O’Gorman commenced the first parts of the Act on 1 July with the establishment of the Contact Preference Register and the launch of the Public Information Campaign. The Act provides that the Contact Preference Register must be open for a minimum period of 3 months before applications for birth information can be accepted. Having regard to that timeframe, today the Minister signed the Order which will commence information and tracing services from 3 October.
This landmark Act was long awaited by many, and provides a full and clear right of access to birth certificates, birth and early life information, where available, 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 also allows for access to available information by a child of a relevant person where their parent has died, and for access by the next of kin of children who died in an institution.
The Act also creates a statutory tracing service which will open for applications, 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 will also be provided to persons on request. All of these services will be free of charge for applicants. In addition, the Act provides for the safeguarding of important records and is, therefore, a valuable foundational step in the development of the planned National Centre for Research and Remembrance.
In July 2022, a new Contact Preference Register, operated by Adoption Authority of Ireland, opened to applications. This Register empowers people to record their preferences in relation to contact with others and the sharing and receiving of information.
A comprehensive public information campaign also launched in July 2022 to inform people of the important services to be provided for under this new Act. This campaign included the delivery of an information booklet to all households in the country, and had a local, national and international focus.
On 3 October 2022, Information and Tracing services under the Act will open. Applications for records can be made to the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. A bespoke website, www.birthinfo.ie, has been established for persons seeking to make an application or seeking further information.
Speaking about the Act, the Minister said:
“This Act finally and conclusively addresses the wrongful denial of people's identity rights over many decades in this State. We have finally found a way to provide a clear right for each person to full and unredacted access to all of his or her information where available. Now, as all affected persons will be able to avail of these new provisions, allowing unfettered access to their birth information, we will be able to see the positive, real world impact of the work we have undertaken on this Act.”