Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone
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.”