New act will assist access to birth information


A BRAND new act was recently signed into law in Ireland that will change the way in which access to birth information is obtained.

The Birth Information and Tracing Act 2022 was signed into law earlier this year and the landmark legislation now provides a full and clear right of access to birth certificates, birth and early life information for all persons who were adopted, boarded out, the subject of an illegal birth registration or who otherwise have questions in relation to their origins.

It also allows for access to information by next of kin in certain circumstances. This includes persons who were adopted from Ireland to other jurisdictions, or persons who were adopted in Ireland, but subsequently emigrated.
The legislation, the information it makes available, and the Tracing Service it establishes, is relevant to many people in Britain, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. There may be cases where people in Scotland know they are adopted but are unaware that their origins are in Ireland.

More than 48,000 children were adopted in Ireland from 1953-2021. A further 2000 plus children were sent from Ireland to other countries and adopted in those countries. Prior to 1953, when there was no legal adoption in Ireland, an additional 20,000 plus children were ‘boarded out’—sent to live with foster families.

People who were adopted, boarded out, the subject of an illegal birth registration, or born in a Mother and Baby or County Home Institution, will now have clear and guaranteed access to information and records about their birth and early life.

The new law establishes a robust tracing service a Contact Preference Register, and a broad spectrum of counselling and support is available to persons affected on request.

A bespoke website with more information on the act, the services it establishes and the persons eligible to use them is available at:

A Public Information Campaign, with a national and international focus, is also underway to let people know of the important changes to the law. As part of this, an Information Booklet is available at the Consulate General of Ireland in Edinburgh or to download from the aforementioned website.

The Contact Preference Register opened to applications on July 1. Applications may be made to the Contact Preference Register by those wishing to make contact, to request privacy, or to seek or share information with a relative.

Information and Tracing Services will open to applications on October 3. While contact preferences can be registered after October 3, early registration will ensure that opportunities are not missed in seeking information and making connections.

Applications to the Contact Preference Register, or to Information and Tracing Services can be made on while frequently asked questions are available at

Should you require further information, please contact the Consulate General of Ireland in Edinburgh.