Dáil Éireann - Volume 572 - 21 October, 2003

Written Answers. - Civil Registration Service.

  397. Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if her Department's attention has been drawn to the equality and constitutional issues arising from the decision contained in the Civil Registration Bill 2003 to merge the indexes of the adopted children's register with the foreign adopted children's register and in doing so removing them from the public record; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23854/03]

  Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Mary Coughlan): The Civil Registration Bill 2003, which was published in July 2003, is part of a joint project with the Department of Health and Children aimed at improving the civil registration service in Ireland. Although the responsibility for the civil registration service comes under the auspices of the Minister for Health and Children, I have specific responsibility for the relevant legislation.

  The Bill provides for the re-organisation and modernisation of the system of registration of births, stillbirths, adoptions, marriages and deaths. It further provides for the extension of the civil registration service to decrees of divorce and nullity of marriages granted by the courts.

  Section 13(1)(c) of the Civil Registration Bill, provides for the establishment of a register of all adoptions and foreign adoptions under the Adoption Acts 1952 to 1998, to be known as the register of adoptions. Section 53 of the Bill provides for searches in the registers, including the register of adoptions, and for the issue of certified copies of the entries in these registers.

  An tArd-Chláraitheoir maintains an index to make traceable the connection between each entry in the adopted children register established under section 22 of the Adoption Act 1952 and the corresponding entry in the register of births. Section 22(5) of the Act of 1952 provides that this index shall not be open to public inspection and that no information from it shall be given to any person except by order of a court or of the Adoption Board.

  Section 53(3) of the Civil Registration Bill 2003 maintains the provisions of section 22(5) of the Adoption Act 1952 in relation to this particular index.