October 17, 2019
Irish government must allow Adoptees access to birth information – Matt Carthy MEP

Irish government must allow Adoptees access to birth information – Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North-West, Matt Carthy MEP, has expressed concern that Ireland remains the only EU country to deny adoptees accessing their identity and birth information.

Speaking on the difficulties this has caused for adoptees, Carthy said:

“As reported by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Ireland is the only EU country that does not grant adoptees the right to access adoption files and information relating to their biological family, such as access to their birth certificate or to their health history.

“This is just one of many instances of Ireland lagging behind other EU countries when it comes to providing fundamental rights and equality.  While other EU countries granted adoptees access to information decades ago, the Irish government is dragging their heels on this issue, making access to a birth certificate an ordeal.  This results in generations of adoptees in Ireland being prevented accessing their own health, heritage and history information because our government allows only the minimal information to adoptees via a register of voluntary participation.

“In a recent survey carried out by Aitheantas, (Adoptee Identity Rights), 84% of adoptees who completed the survey stated that their lack of access to medical information has affected them.

“The government has obligations to uphold its commitments to international human rights laws that it cannot ignore.  The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates the child’s ‘right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.’  Furthermore, the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in respect of Inter-Country Adoption states that authorities shall preserve information on ‘the child’s origin, in particular information concerning the identity of his or her parents, as well as the medical history.’  This should not be any different for adoptions that occurred within Ireland.

“I note that adoptees in the north of Ireland can access their birth information – there is need for the Dublin government to ensure all-Ireland cohesion on this issue.

“The Irish government has had no legislation on this area since 1952, meaning there is need to create an updated legislative framework as a matter of urgency.  It is therefore regretful to see this issue repeatedly shelved by successive ministers.  The Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill must be fast-tracked and must address the concerns of those that it effects most rather than entertaining outdated concepts of adoption.

“I have contacted Minister Zappone urging her to meet with representatives of Aitheantas, which represents adoptees, at the earliest possible opportunity.  It is essential that the concerns of adoptees are listened to in the drafting of a new Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill.”


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