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Birth Information and Tracing Act

Access to birth and early life information in Ireland is changing.

The Birth Information and Tracing Act was signed into Irish law by President Higgins in June 2022. The legislation makes a number of significant changes to how adoptees can access information about their birth by providing 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.

The law also establishes a statutory Tracing Service that will allow people to trace family members, seek a reunion, or simply share or seek information – such as vital medical information.

From October 3rd 2022 Information and Tracing services under the legislation will open. From this time, applications for records can be made to the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AA) and Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

Adoptees and birth parents are advised to register and update their contact preferences under the Contact Preferences Register, which will be operated by the AAI, before the tracing service begins. Contact preferences can still be registered after that date. However, when an application for information is received, only preferences recorded on the register at that point in time can be released with the associated information.

Patricia Carey, CEO of the AAI, said: “The Contact Preference Register empowers people to record their preferences in relation to contact with others and the sharing and receiving of information.”

In the month after the CPR opened 891 adopted persons and relatives registered their contact preferences. The greatest number of applications from outside Ireland came from the UK, with 50 people registering contact preferences.

Further information on the legislation and on joining the Contact Preference Register can be found at birthinfo.ie.