‘ignores tracing rights’
By Conall O Fátharta
Irish Examiner, Friday,
March 12, 2010
THE Adoption Bill
ignores the information and tracing rights of more than 42,000 adopted
people and their families, a new coalition of adoption and children’s
rights groups has claimed.
The coalition is made
of up of the Adoption Rights Alliance, Barnardos, Adoption Loss-Natural
Parents Network of Ireland, Know My Own and the Council of Irish
The new grouping criticised the bill as being focused almost exclusively
on inter-country adoption, while the information and tracing rights of
adopted people have been ignored.
During an extensive consultation process in 2003 by then Minister for
Children Brian Lenihan, the right to information and tracing services
was widely accepted.
Despite such an acknowledgement, the Coalition claim current minister
Barry Andrews has failed to implement the suggestions from the
consultation process or to provide any coherent rationale for the
failure to amend the legislation to include such rights.
Claire McGettrick of the Adoption Rights Alliance said the lack of a
legislative basis for tracing and information was extremely
disappointing for adopted people and their natural families.
"An estimated 10,000 adopted people and their natural families have
registered with the Adoption Board and other agencies seeking
information about each other.
"The lack of a legislative basis for both adoption agencies that
provide information and tracing services and the National Adoption
Contact Preference Register will not guarantee that these services will
continue and is extremely unsatisfactory for everyone affected by
adoption," she said.
This view was mirrored by Sheila Gallagher of the Council of Irish
"The lack of a legislative basis for services that are currently
operational is unacceptable. This has a direct impact on service
provision, the net effect being lengthy waiting times for adopted people
and their natural families. This is particularly unfair in the context
of ageing natural parents and the basic right of equity of access to
services for all parties to an adoption," she said.
Adopted people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have had the right
to their birth certificates and adoption files since the 1970s.
However, such rights do not currently exist in Ireland and are not
included in the Adoption Bill.
Director of advocacy at Barnardos Norah Gibbons called on Mr Andrews to
amend the legislation so tracing and information rights for adopted
people and their natural parents are catered for.
"The voice of the child was not heard when the decisions around
their adoption were made.
"We must now redress that wrong. It is crucial that as adults their
voices are not silenced.
"The Adoption Bill must be amended to include information and
tracing rights for adopted people and their natural families," she
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