Catholic Bishops will write to the Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman to request a meeting on the General Scheme of the Birth Information and Tracing Bill.

At their Summer General Meeting today, they welcomed the publication of the bill, which will enable those seeking their identities access to their birth certificates, birth and early life information.

The Bishops "reiterated their commitment" to ensuring that dioceses can legally share whatever information they have in relation to adopted people.

Yesterday, representatives of Tusla told an Oireachtas Committee that it was aware of records that remain in the possession of congregations.

Another matter discussed by the Bishops was the reconfiguration of patronage at primary schools, to which, they reaffirmed their commitment.

The Bishops expressed support of an educational landscape which reflects "the reality of the increasingly diverse society in our country".

They said "a true plurality of patronage across the country should ensure parental choice whilst enabling patrons to be true to their own ethos and characteristic spirit".

The Catholic Bishops have said that parents who choose a new provision should have access to an appropriate number of schools under Catholic patronage, which are enabled and supported in their Catholic ethos.

In April, a new Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) programme called Flourish was developed by the Irish Bishops Conference and published by the Department of Education.

It has come in for criticism from some quarters, and a Catholic Primary school in Co Wicklow confirmed in recent days that it would not be using it.

The Bishops say they would like to move "as quickly as possible" to a situation in which the State supports parents with the provision of schools whose ethos genuinely reflects what they want for their children.

"Going forward, bishops wish to have a fruitful dialogue about the best way of ensuring that our school system reflects a diversity of provision."

The bishops also discussed vaccines.

While the Catholic Bishops encouraged Catholics to support the programme of vaccination, they have renewed an appeal they made in December, when they wrote to relevant authorities expressing concern at the dependence of some vaccines on human foetal cell lines.

They've asked that, in the future, the focus be placed on developing ethically untainted vaccines.

They also stated that vaccine equity is "a very serious moral test for the global community", and that wealthy nations have an obligation to ensure access to vaccines for poorer countries.

On Northern Ireland, they expressed concern over rising tensions and noted "the stresses in political Unionism" and the impact public policy and economic reaction to Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol is having on the social cohesion of the whole island community.

They called on political and civic leaders "to avoid harsh words".

Other issues discussed

The humanitarian crisis due to violence between Israel and Palestine was discussed.

The Bishops commended the unanimous passing of the motion in Dáil Éireann condemning Israel's "de facto annexation" of Palestinian territory as a violation of the fundamental principles of international law.

Noting that the Holy See recognised the State of Palestine in February 2013, they called on the Government to progress the Occupied Territories Bill to recognise the State of Palestine.

They also called for an end to oppression and violence, and for respect for the voices of the people of Myanmar, stating that peace and dialogue must prevail.

Other domestic issues discussed included a recent report from the Minister for Justice and Equality which said that for a fourth consecutive year no Irish prisoners were repatriated.

They say this "appears to contradict" the Government's stated policy that prisoners should be permitted to serve their sentences close to their families.

They have urged the Government to expedite the "overdue" but "vitally important" Transfer of Sentenced Persons Act.

Since the announcement of a new Synodal Pathway Synodal Pathway for the Catholic Church in Ireland - which will lead to a national synodal assembly, or assemblies, within the next five years - the meeting heard that 550 submissions were received from members the public, as part of the initial phase.