Press Release

Minister Lenihan announces that there will be no criminal sanctions in new adoption legislation

Brian Lenihan TD, Minter for Children today, 18 October, announced that forthcoming adoption legislation will not contain criminal sanctions for any breach of a contact veto. In particular, the Minister said that there would be no criminal sanction where someone makes contact despite a veto.

The Minister made his statement at the start of the second day of an oral consultation on adoption. The oral stages follows the receipt of about 300 submissions based on documents circulated earlier in the summer.

“Having read the submissions I became more and more convinced that adoption legislation should be kept outside the province of criminal law. Over the summer, I followed the controversy regarding the issue of sanctions for breaching a contact veto. I felt that it was important that the integrity of the consultation process be maintained, and did not become involved in the discussions. However, I am happy to say that I agree with the overwhelming view of the submissions, and to announce that whatever form future legislation will take there will be no criminal sanction for breaching a contact veto.”

The second day of the conference is to be devoted to discussing what information should be available to adopted people, natural parents and others affected by adoption.

“Many of these issues are very sensitive and I welcome this opportunity to get as many responses as possible from people who have experience of how these measures will impact their lives.”