Almost 900 adopted people and birth parents applied to the new Contact Preference Register CPR last month following the commencement of the Birth Information and Tracing Act 2022.
A total of 891 people have applied to the register which allows legal entitlement to full and unrestricted access to birth certificates, birth, early life, care, and medical information for any person who was adopted, boarded out, had their birth illegally registered, or who otherwise has questions in relation to their origins.
Applications to the Register can be made by those wishing to make contact, to request privacy, or to seek or share information with a relative.
The Adoption Authority of Ireland operates the CPR.
Of the 891 people who applied to register their preferences in relation to contact, 786 applications were from adoptees, 90 were from birth parents, and 15 were other relatives.
There were 820 people who expressed a preference for contact at some level.
There were 32 people who expressed a desire for no contact (24 adoptees and 8 relatives) while 39 applicants (30 adoptees and nine relatives) did not want contact but were willing to share information.
The majority of all applications, 786, came from people in Ireland, with 105 applications from those who live overseas.
The greatest number of applications from outside Ireland came from the UK, with 50 people registering contact preferences. Next was the US with 17 applications, followed by Australia with four.
The oldest applicant to the CPR was 81, while the youngest, aged five, had an application submitted by their adoptive parents. The mean age of both adoptees and relatives was 50.
Patricia Carey, chief executive officer of the Adoption Authority, said: “We are very encouraged by the number of people who have registered on the Contact Preference Register. These are mostly adoptees – but also birth parents and other relatives – for whom the Birth Information and Tracing Act is a really important piece of legislation.
“Come October, when the free services under the legislation open, adoptees will finally have the right to access all of their birth information held by the State. This wasn’t the case previously, so it is a big deal.
“If they have applied to the Contact Preference Register, the Adoption Authority will also be able to facilitate contact between adoptees and birth parents and other relatives, at a level with which both parties are comfortable.”
As part of a public information campaign around the Birth Information and Tracing Act, a booklet on the important services to be provided under the new legislation is being delivered to every household in Ireland.
Ms Carey added: “The 1.85 million booklets landing on doorsteps throughout the country explain what the new legislation means and how this works. I would urge anyone impacted by the legislation to read and consider the information it contains, and perhaps talk to a trusted friend, before deciding what they want to do.”