Press Release

Minister Lenihan announces a process of consultation to review adoption legislation

The Minister for Children, Brian Lenihan, today announced that the Government had approved a wide-ranging consultation process with various interested parties on future developments in adoption legislation. This consultation will include views on proposals for Adoption Information and Post Adoption Contact.

“I have been conscious for some time that the existing legislation is out of date and cumbersome, and I am delighted to have this opportunity to consult with all interested parties, with a view to making significant improvements” said the Minister, adding that “because of social changes, many adoption practices have changed radically both in Ireland and abroad over the years. Adoption legislation should reflect these changes. A wide range of issues need to be considered if the legislation is to be modernised and that is why I intend to undertake the fullest possible consultation process”.

The primary adoption legislation in Ireland dates back to 1952, a time when many attitudes and practices were very different to those that exist today. There have been six amendments to the 1952 Act. Two further amendments have been under preparation, one on information rights for those affected by adoption and one on the ratification by Ireland of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Convention and also to update the provisions relating to the structure and functions of the Adoption Board.

A working document which will set out a number of issues for consideration will be published as soon as possible. Written submissions will then be invited, these submissions to be followed by an oral consultation. The working document will be developed by an independent legal expert who will also examine the various submissions.

“I would like to emphasise that this is to be a short and highly focussed consultation process. The process will be as inclusive as possible and I intend that it will be finalised by July of this year. I believe that this will result in my being able to bring workable proposals to Government which will lead to a new, modern and appropriate legislative framework for adoption”.