Adoption Bill

Update: 11th december, 2019

(For previous news on the Adoption Bill click here)

On 11th December, Minister Zappone announced that she will progress with Option 3 from the four ‘Options for a Legislative Pathway’ on the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 which she circulated in November (see here and here). Option 3 was the route which had support from the majority of stakeholders consulted on the four pathways. ARA reluctantly supports Option 3, but with strict conditions, which are set out in a letter to Minister Zappone, available here.

Option 3 provides for:

  • Safeguarding of Records;
  • The National Adoption Contact Preference Register to be put on a statutory footing; and
  • A Statutory Tracing Service


ARA’s conditional support for Option 3 has not changed; however, it remains our strong position that it is within the gift of the Oireachtas to legislate for automatic access to birth certificates and personal data for adopted people. With this in mind, on 27th November, Adoption Rights Alliance contacted Minister Zappone and all TDs and Senators with the following materials:

1. Draft Adoption Information Bill

An amended version of the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 (as initiated). The amended bill was drafted by Dr Maeve O’Rourke and Claire McGettrick with assistance from Dr James Gallen and Máiréad Enright, and implements the various amendments we disseminated previously, and also incorporates additional child-centred and human rights oriented measures to create the attached draft legislation.

Earlier in November ARA indicated to the Minister that it will reluctantly support Option 3 of the pathways set out by Minister Zappone, and that position has not changed. The amended legislation was shared in the spirit of clarifying what we see not merely as workable legislation but best practice law for all those affected by adoption.

2. Legal opinion by O’Mahony, Logue and O’Rourke

In this context we also provided the Minister and the members of the Oireachtas with a legal opinion recently published by Dr Conor O’Mahony, Dr Fred Logue and Dr Maeve O’Rourke. The opinion has since been endorsed by a number of leading legal academics, which indicates that the attached ARA draft bill is constitutional.

3. Adoption Rights Alliance Information Guide for Adopted People

In the absence of explicit statutory rights, ARA and its predecessor organisations have, since the 1990s, provided rule-abiding information and resources to assist adopted people and others affected by adoption in locating their birth certificates and obtaining adoption records. Recently, ARA has published an updated Information Guide for Adopted People, which incorporates recent developments in DNA genealogy and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation. Over the past three decades adopted people have used these methodologies to obtain their birth certificates. We encouraged Oireachtas members to make this Guide available to their constituents.