Claire McGettrick (born Lorraine Hughes)

Claire McGettrick (born Lorraine Hughes)

12-01-2022

11:03

The Birth (Info & Tracing) Bill has been published: At a quick glance: 🚨This Bill DOES NOT provide unrestricted access to birth certs/info. 🚨 This Bill is offensive to adopted people. We do not need to have the concept of privacy explained to us. 👇

🚨Institutions like Temple Hill are omitted from the definition of 'care arrangement' (the Schedule = the 14 MBHs on the Commission of Investigation ToR plus the 30 County Homes). See 3.3.1 of this Clann submission on the Bill for why this is important:

🚨Personal data is 'defined' in this version of the bill but instead of spelling out what personal data means in this context, info is defined under multiple categories (eg below) that are narrow & open to interpretation, with a risk of other types of data falling through the net

Re the above, see section 3.3.2 of the Clann submission to the Children's Committee for a definition of personal data in the context of the bill.

🚨🚨 This next one is very sneaky. We were critical of the omission of adoptive (& natural) parents from care info & on face value (see👇), you'd think that the bill published today has addressed this, right? Wrong. See the next tweet.

🚨 'Care' & 'early life' info are subject to subsection 2 which essentially states that info on a person's care after adoption is withheld. Some adopted people were abused in their adoptive families & this info is crucial to them. See 3.3.2 of:

🚨 The definition of 'genetic relative information' is *ridiculously* narrow. It should include a wide range of info on relatives, no. of siblings, names, ages whether they were adopted etc.

🚨 The definition of 'incorrect birth registration information' is too narrow, omits other forms of illegal adoption* (& the term itself makes it sound like some kind of clerical error). *How people subject to such arrangements identify is a matter for themselves.

🚨🚨 This is a HUGE issue. The definitions of primary/secondary information sources are insanely narrow. Information sources must be expanded to include all individuals, agencies and institutions involved in forced family separation.

ℹ️All of the above and what is to follow below is an initial analysis from a first read through of the Bill. A more detailed review will follow in due course.

🚨The definition of a 'relevant record' needs to be expanded, at a minimum to include the administrative records of info sources & other institutions/agencies/individuals involved with forced family separation.

(I've only just finished with the definitions and don't know whether I need more ☕️ or if I should just proceed directly to 🍷)

I've moved on to the sections that relate to access to birth certificates/'birth info' & it is exceptionally convoluted. I'll try my best to pick out the most important bits & make sense of them. I don't know how the average affected person is supposed to read & understand it.

At face value, Section 6 *appears* to provide access to birth certificates. But as we keep saying, the devil is in the detail: Section 6 is subject to Sections 7 & 8, which are dealt with in the next tweet.

This is Section 7(4). The language is very difficult to follow but what it means is that in a case where a natural parent has lodged a no contact preference, a birth cert will only be given where the adopted person has completed an information session. 🚨Completely unacceptable🚨

🚨Section 8(4) concerns applications by adopted people between 16-18. The same situation applies - where a natural parent lodges a no contact preference an information session is required before the birth cert is released. This doesn't constitute unconditional access!

🚨The above does not square with the Minister's claim that this Bill provides a 'full and clear right of access'.

This is Section 9(7). It relates to the provision of 'birth information'. Again, where a no contact preference has been lodged, birth information will only be provided when the mandatory information session (explaining the importance of privacy) is completed.

Section 10(6), relating to people between 16-18 years. A mandatory information session where a no contact preference has been lodged.

🚨 Moving on to accessing records, Section 11 is hugely problematic. Instead of providing the person with a copy of their whole file (remember, there is no file without the adopted person), it's copies of records 'that contain' early life/care/incorrect birth reg info.

🚨Section 12, for people aged 16-18, it's the same - instead of the whole file, it's parts of the file. And, for both Section 11-12, note how a (subjective) 'statement' of 'early life' & 'care' info is provided - what about our right under GDPR to a full schedule of data held??

🚨Sections 13-14 relate to 'provided items', ie, letters/photos left by parents/relatives. Again, instead of providing the person with the whole file when they ask for their personal data, they're expected to apply for several different categories of information. Utter nonsense.

Sections 15-16 deal with medical information and I'll come back to these in due course once I've had an opportunity to read more closely.

🚨🚨Section 17, the *mandatory* info session, one of the most offensive aspects of the Bill. One of the express purposes of the info session is to ensure an adopted person understands the importance of respecting privacy. I don't need to explain why this is a non-runner do I?

Section 16 deals with Provision of information to under 18s - another convoluted section that I'll have to come back to.

I'm going to come back to this later/tomorrow, but from what I've read so far it is clear that this Bill is NOT a measure of justice. It's discrimination on top of discrimination. This Bill is being portrayed as redress. It's anything but. The State is failing us again.

Returning to this. S15 concerns medical info. ✅On the upside, it seems the info will now be provided directly to the adopted person. (cc @Tupp_Ed @BrownNollieb) 🚨 On the downside, 15(6) restricts the records that can be released (see next tweet).

15(6) narrows the scope of records to be released: those relating to a person's adoption, care arrangement (the timeframe ends after the person was adopted) & a record created by agency/institution in the ⚠️Schedule ( Why is this problematic? See 👇

The definition of medical info in S2 looks fine.👇 This covers all info. By narrowing the scope, records 1) created after the person has been adopted, 2) not directly related to the person's adoption, 3) not created by institutions in the schedule appear to be withheld.

S16 relates to the provision of genetic relatives' medical info, in other words, family medical history. 🚨 This info is released to a medical practitioner & *not* directly to the adopted person (cc @Tupp_Ed @BrownNollieb). See next tweet for why this is 👎

The Bill provides that only the medical info is released - no name, no genetic relationship. In other words it is family medical history. Family medical history is the adopted person's personal data & there is no reason why it should not be released directly to them.

Why does the Minister think it's necessary to release family medical history via a medical practitioner? Are we as adopted people incapable of receiving such information in our own right? Do we not know to contact our own doctors if the need arises? Why are we being managed?

Yesterday I briefly discussed S17 here 👇

S18 deals with the provision of info to people aged 16-18. According to the Explanatory Memo info is released via a 'supportive meeting'. ✅Good that they can bring a person of their choosing with them 🚨There isn't enough detail on the 'supportive meeting'. I've lots of ❓❓

Under S19 1) Minister can issue guidelines & 2) AAI to assign a designated person to conduct info sessions & meetings with u18s. 🚨 No mention of a stakeholder advisory group as recommended by the Children's Ctte 🚨 Who is the designated person? (& info session should be 🗑️)

Moving to Part 3 of the Bill: access to info for 'qualifying persons', defined under S20 as the offspring of adopted (incl. illegally) & boarded out people who are deceased. The deceased don't have GDPR rights, so you'd expect this to be straightforward right? I'm afraid not...

There are lots of issues with S21 that I'll get to in the next tweet. First it's important to understand that though adoption records are primarily the personal data of the adopted person, they're also the personal data of their children. They're part of their history & heritage.

Bearing the above in mind, the 1st issue is S21(2)(b) which provides for a (subjective) statement to be compiled setting out the info on the file. What about the person's rights under GDPR to a full schedule?

🚨 S21(3)(b) is a doozie - the info will only be released to the adopted person's offspring if *everyone* named in the records is deceased. Seriously? The dept's new policy on mixed personal data is to wait until everyone is dead?

🚨S21(4) narrowly prescribes certain kinds of records as being relevant so there's a risk of many other kinds of personal data falling through the net.

🚨S22(1) also narrowly prescribes the kinds of records that are relevant, thus potentially omitting people's personal data. 🚨Like S21, under S22(3)(b) the info will only be released if *everyone* is dead. Wow. Just wow.

S23 relates to 'provided items' - see my tweet from yesterday 👇

S24: medical info for adopted people's offspring. 🚨Records provided via medical practitioner 🚨Records are only given if relevant/likely to be relevant to the person's health. So you have to be either sick/at risk or have a crystal ball to know what's of future relevance?

🚨S25: More Ministerial guidelines but no stakeholder advisory group as recommended by the Oireachtas Children's Committee.

Part 4: info rights of relatives of children who died in institutions. 🚨🚨S26 defines who is a 'qualifying relative' & it is *highly* restrictive: only relatives of children who died in institutions on the Commission of Investigation ToR & County Homes can apply. Outrageous.

Similar to earlier sections, S27-29 prescribe certain kinds of data as relevant instead of providing the parent of a deceased child with all available records. 🚨And records are only released if every named person is dead.

S30: medical info on children who died in institutions. 🚨The Bill restricts the kinds of records that can be made available Why is the Minister restricting the kinds of records that will made available to mothers who are trying to ascertain how their children died?

🚨S31 - again, more ministerial guidelines but no stakeholder advisory group as recommended by the Oireachtas Children's Committee.

🚨🚨I've just finished the parts of the Bill that deal with information rights & there are no such rights for mothers who lost children to adoption. The only mothers who have (highly restricted) info rights are those women mentioned in the below tweet 👇

🚨The Minister has ignored the info rights of women who were forced to relinquish their children for adoption. This perpetuates the culture of shame around adoption & compounds the myth that adopted people & mothers are on opposing sides. See Section 4 of

I'll leave it at that for now. As I go through the remainder of the Bill I'll flag any major issues on this thread. I'm now about halfway through the Bill and the conclusion I came to yesterday remains the same 👇



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