A new birth-information and tracing service, established under legislation enacted earlier this year, has been officially launched.
The service will enable affected people and their relatives to search for each other for contact, or to request or share information – including vital medical information.
The Birth Information and Tracing Act 2022 provides a full right of access to birth certificates, birth information, and early-life information for anyone who was adopted, boarded out, the subject of an illegal birth registration, or who otherwise has questions about their origins.
It also allows for access to information by a child of a relevant person where their parent has died, and for access by the next of kin of a child who died in an institution.
Information must be released
Applications can now be made for access to birth, early-life, care, and medical information, and for tracing services.
Information requests can be made to the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Tusla through a bespoke website.
All information falling within the categories of information defined in the act must be released, without exception, where it exists.
The Contact Preference Register, also established through the 2022 act and managed by the Adoption Authority of Ireland, remains open to applications.
Roderic O’Gorman (Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, pictured) said that he was acutely aware of the long and difficult road so many had to travel to get to this point.
“I am pleased and thankful, though, that the day has arrived where people can with certainty and confidence access what is rightfully theirs,” he added.
‘Comfort and understanding’
Patricia Carey (Adoption Authority of Ireland CEO) described the beginning of the service as an “historic moment”.
“The new birth-information and tracing services are about bringing comfort and understanding to the many families in Ireland who have been touched by adoption,” she stated.
Siobhan Mugan (national manager of adoption, and birth-information and tracing services, at Tusla) said that the agency had been putting additional resources in place to provide the new services.
"We have recruited additional staff for our contact-and-support centre, who will help people with their information and tracing requests. We have also put in place small, dedicated locally-based teams across the country to provide information to people,” she stated.