Birth Families And How Harm Is Determined


Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone

This morning.

Conall Ó Fátharta of The Irish Examiner has obtained a copy of a report by the Collaborative Forum on Mother and Baby Homes, set up last year by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone.

The forum presented its report to Ms Zappone last December but she has declined to publish it citing advice from the Attorney General.

Via The Irish Examiner:

In a lengthy section on information and identity rights, the report states that Tusla representatives informed it that it assesses the likelihood of harm being caused to wider birth families by the release of personal information to an applicant.

In exchanges with the forum, Tusla representatives indicated that identity and personal information applications are assessed in part by reference to the level of harm acceding to such requests may cause,” states the report. “Neither the statutory basis for such a criterion, nor the nature of how harm is determined, was clear to forum members.”

The forum states its belief that since Tusla began taking ownership of the files of former adoption agencies in 2014, it has been pursuing “a practice of withholding identity and personal information from applicants detained as children across various institutions on the basis that to release this information, could cause harm to the wider family members of the applicant”.

In a statement, Tusla said that in the absence of any specific legislation to regulate information and tracing services, it can only “lawfully release information relating to other persons [e.g. birth parents] with their expressed consent.”

Tusla considers damage release of personal information can cause (Irish Examiner)


6 thoughts on “Birth Families And How Harm Is Determined

  1. Bebe

    They cannot hide information indefinitely- DNA provides the opportunities to connect – together with genealogists will present family tree so that people can know their own history, background together with relevant details regarding illnesses with a hereditary influence etc. everyone has a RIGHT to such information – seems they are kicking the can down the road by delaying the inevitable.

    Release the report – part is already in public domain thanks to Conall. With-holding is a further example of abuse of power.

  2. kellMA

    There is something fundamentally wrong here. We are talking about two adults here who have a biological connection. A biological connection that is relevant in terms of genetic predispositions towards certain conditions and also information that is very relevant in terms of deciding who you in turn procreate with, if you chose to do so.
    Both people sharing that biological connection should have an equal footing when it comes to having access to this information. I can understand that it can be that one or other of the parties do not want a relationship with the other or do not want that connection to be known to their immediate “family”. My view there is… find another way to cope with it and deal with it. Sweeping things under the carpet has NEVER done anyone any favours.

  3. eoin

    I can understand why the AG mightn’t want the entire report published. It may mention names or even case studies, but I wonder why an abridged or even a redacted version can’t be published. This smells like “you can’t see it [why?] that’s so why”

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