Nothing will be held back in new legislation on adoption rights, according to Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman.
People will be provided with copies of the original documentation and not interpretations, the Minister told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
“It's the birth cert, it's birth information,” he said, which could include, for example, the natural father's name.
We have failed them as a State. We let adoptees down
The Minister said adoptees will now have rights, not alone to their birth parents' names, but also to their care information such as where they were and for how long; their early life information such as what institutions they were in, visitors they received, medical information such as vaccinations; and also access to mementos if anything was left for them by their birth parents.
The Minister said these rights should have been provided years ago.
“We have failed them as a State. We let adoptees down,” he said.
The protection of documents was an essential part of the legislation, Mr O’Gorman said. There would now be a legal obligation on religious congregations to protect their records and make them available.
There would be powers to compel them to share information, he said.
The Minister added that work on the redress scheme should be completed shortly.
Mr O’Gorman outlined the process adoptees would have to go through if their parents had indicated a no contact preference, which included meeting with social workers and agreeing not to make contact.
However, the Minister said there would not be a penalty if they ignored this, which had been suggested in the past.
The process will be coordinated by the Adoption Board and Tusla and it would be easier once the legislation was in place, he said.