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Act addresses ‘wrongful denial’ of identity rights by State
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Roderic O'Gorman Pic: RollingNews.ie

12 Sep 2022 / legislation Print

Act addresses ‘wrongful denial’ of identity rights

The order providing for birth-information tracing under the new Birth Information and Tracing Act has been signed. The service will become available from 3 October.

The law provides a right of access to birth certificates, birth and early-life information, where available, for all those who were adopted, boarded out, subjected to an illegal birth registration or who otherwise have questions in relation to their origins.

Roderic O’Gorman (Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth) commenced the first parts of the act on 1 July, with the establishment of the Contact Preference Register and the launch of a public-information campaign.

The minister said that the act “finally and conclusively addresses the wrongful denial of people's identity rights over many decades in this State.”

Unfettered access

“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,” he said.

The Contact Preference Register must be open for a minimum period of three months before applications for birth information can be accepted; therefore, information and tracing services will commence from 3 October. 

The act 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 new law also creates a statutory tracing service that will open for applications, as well as a range of measures to address issues arising for those affected by illegal birth registration.

The Contact Preference Register, operated by the Adoption Authority of Ireland, opened to applications in July.

Applications for records can be made to the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Tusla (the Child and Family Agency).  

A website has also been established for relevant citizens.

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