Tusla has said a backlog of people who want to trace their relatives under the Birth and Information Tracing Act is expected to be completed by May.
From 3 October 2022 to 22 January this year, the child and family agency said it received 7,234 applications under the Act, which was signed into law in July 2022.
Of those applications, 833 were received after 1 September 2023, and are currently being processed under its Birth, Information and Tracing service within statutory timeframes.
However, there is currently a backlog of 607 applications which were received between May and August last year.
“It is expected that this backlog will be completed by May 2024. The service continues to receive an average 40 new applications per week,” Tusla said in a statement.
“Tusla is conscious of the importance of this service and the impact any delays can have on people who require birth, information, and tracing services,” the agency added.
Barnardos CEO Suzanne Connolly called on the Government to give all possible resources to Tusla in order to help it deal with the backlog.
“It’s just not acceptable,” she said, “particularly for those elderly parents who may have summoned up the courage after several decades, to then discover they are on long waiting lists”.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme, Ms Connolly said: “We know from our work and Barnardos because we run groups for people who’ve been adopted, and indeed we also run group for mothers whose babies were placed for adoption.
“And we know the positive effect it can have on both lives when the reunification happens.
“And we also know the absolute heartache of somebody who’s waiting for that call to say they can proceed now with the tracing.”