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 Header Item Written Answers Nos.240-248
 Header Item Tourism Promotion
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Adoption Records Provision
 Header Item Adoption Data

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 845 No. 3

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Written Answers Nos.240-248

Tourism Promotion

 240. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the extent to which this country is marketed abroad as a venue for business tourism with particular reference to the hosting of international conferences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27742/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Tourism Ireland is the agency responsible for the overseas marketing of the island of Ireland as a tourist destination. In co-operation with Fáilte Ireland, the agency actively promotes Ireland as a venue for business tourism through direct marketing, familiarisation visits for decision makers in the meetings, incentives and conferences sectors, network events and through dedicated business tourism exhibitions such as IMEX. Together with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the agencies also operate the website http://www.meetinireland.com/Home which promotes the island as a leading destination for conferences and meetings. It also sets out the supports available to those seeking to bring business tourism events to Ireland including the conference ambassador programme.

  I have asked the agencies to provide the Deputy with additional information. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

  Questions Nos. 241 and 242 answered with Question No. 229.

Road Network

 243. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans to develop the road network over the next ten years; the projects that will receive priority funding in this time; the preparatory work being done to ensure projects will be ready when funding becomes available again; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27420/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for the NRA in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities' own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.

The Government’s Comprehensive Review of Expenditure 2015-2017 and Capital Review 2015-2019 have commenced. The Current and Capital Reviews will consider new ways of achieving Government objectives in the current tight fiscal climate, including the extent to which funding will be available for the maintenance and development of the road network. I cannot say at this point what the outcome of the Comprehensive Review and of the Capital Review process will be.

Adoption Records Provision

 244. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the procedure that adopted children have to go through to gain access to their adoption file; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27760/14]

 245. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the amount of information an adopted person is entitled to regarding their birth parents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27761/14]

 246. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the rights an adopted person has to gain access to the health history of their birth parents; his plans to make changes in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27762/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I propose to take Questions Nos. 244 to 246, inclusive, together.

Any person seeking information on an adoption should contact the Adoption Authority of Ireland or the Child and Family Agency Adoption Services who will assist in directing them to the personnel dealing with their particular records. Information and tracing enquiries are normally dealt with by the organisation that arranged the original adoption placement. If the adoption agency has closed, the Child and Family Agency Adoption Information and Tracing Service, or the agency that now holds the placement records, will deal with the enquiry.

The Adoption Authority of Ireland, the Child and Family Agency and the relevant adoption agency hold records on each individual adoption order granted under the Adoption Act 1952. The records retained vary but may include basic legal documentation in relation to the adoption, such as application forms, birth certificates for children and adoptive parents, marriage certificates, and consent documentation. The agency records may contain additional information but this can vary considerably.

Non identifying information regarding the birth parent will generally be provided to an adopted person. This would include whatever background medical information is on file. However, the medical and social information on record may be very limited and it may be necessary to attempt to contact the birth parents should updated medical information be required. What information can or cannot be deemed to be identifying or non-identifying can only be determined on a case by case basis taking account of the individual circumstances involved.

My Department is continuing work on the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill and I hope to be in a position to seek Government approval to publish the Heads of the Bill as soon as possible. While I am anxious to improve the legal basis for access to adoption records, proposals to Government have to reflect the constraints on the Legislature in providing such access if they are not to fall foul of Constitutional challenge. The Office of the Attorney General has provided comprehensive legal advice to the Department that has assisted in identifying the Constitutional parameters within which the Heads of the Bill have to be drafted.

It is intended to proceed to finalise legislative proposals and I will bring proposals to the Government as soon as possible. Subsequent consideration by the Oireachtas Health and Children Committee will allow the issues to be carefully teased out and the views of different interested parties on these important and sensitive matters to be fully considered.

Adoption Data

 247. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan his plans to ensure that the identities of adopted persons whose births were not registered are re-established; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27764/14]

 248. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if he has concerns that adoptions were allowed to take place in the past without ensuring that a birth certificate was available to ensure that the child's birth had been registered; if any investigations have taken place or if there has been any prosecutions regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27765/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I propose to take Questions Nos. 247 and 248 together.

The Adoption Act 1952 provided a legal basis for adoption in Ireland and for the establishment of the Adoption Board. This brought order to what had been the system of ad-hoc arrangements in lieu of formal adoption procedures up to this point. All adoptions, which the Irish state has been involved in since 1952 have been carried out in line with this and subsequent adoption legislation.

I am also aware that some arrangements put in place in earlier decades were not within the provisions of the adoption legislation leaving people assuming they were adopted when they in fact were not. There were also births which were the subject of illegal registrations. The issue of illegal registrations of births are a matter for the General Registration Office which is the responsibility of the Department of Social Protection however the Adoption Authority of Ireland may also be able to provide assistance in this regard. However historic private arrangements for obvious reasons and due to social factors of the era, operated in conditions of great secrecy and there were rarely any contemporary written records of these events.

Records in relation to adoptions as well as illegal birth registrations are currently held by a number of agencies, including the HSE, the Adoption Authority of Ireland and also by private adoption agencies, maternity hospitals, private individuals and other sources. Information held by the Adoption Authority is primarily in relation to adoptions which took place since the Adoption Act 1952. If no adoption took place the Authority would not have an adoption file. Where no adoption took place, if records exist they may be held by a number of sources including hospitals, GPs, Mother and Baby Homes, religious orders and other sources.

The National Adoption Contact Register which is operated by the Adoption Authority was established in 2005 to assist adopted people and their natural families to make contact with each other, exchange information or state their contact preferences. When the former Adoption Board launched the National Adoption Contact Preference Register in 2005, provision was made for persons, who were party to the illegal registration of a child, to register an interest in the Register for possible future contact with another party sometime in the future. Fundamental to the success of the Register is that any persons with information in this regard contact the Information and Tracing Unit of the Adoption Authority.


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