The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has said that changes to a bill that will give adopted people access to their birth records represents a major step forward.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Katherine Zappone said she had listened to the concerns of adopted people and the changes, in her view, balance the right to privacy with the right to identity.

The bill, which will move to the committee stage in the Seanad today, has been delayed because of concerns about the privacy of natural or birth parents in cases where an adopted person is looking for information.

It is now proposed that the child and family agency, Tusla, would contact birth parents in relation to any request for information and, if they object to its release, the Adoption Authority of Ireland would make a decision. 

Minister Zappone said this bill will for the first time give a statutory base for information and tracing services for adopted people, birth parents, other relatives and interested individuals.

She said the changes removed the need for adopted people to sign a statement that they would not contact their biological parent, before they begin the process to access information.

She added that if this bill was not passed now, then the efforts of Tusla to provide information are "in danger of grinding to a halt".

Claire McGettrick of the Adoption Rights Alliance urged the minister to reconsider the changes and said the State is conflating and confusing privacy and secrecy.

Speaking on the same programme, she said that changes to the bill are "frankly outrageous", adding that not every adopted person wanted contact, but rather information about oneself - a right that is granted to every other citizen.

She said Minister Zappone is "hurtling" to the wrong side of history.

Former Labour Party leader Joan Burton has urged Ms Zappone to reconsider amendments to the bill.

Ms Burton said the right to privacy of the birth family should not surmount the right to information, adding that there is a conflation between the right to contact and the right to identity information.

She said that most adopted people just want information and while many may wish for contact, both parties need to consent to this.

Ms Burton said Ms Zappone needs to reflect "very, very seriously" on the proposals and on the hurt that a lot of adopted people feel at the prospect of having to go to a social worker and be told what they can and cannot do.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O'Rourke she said that she did not believe Tusla was "fitted to do this supremely delicate job."

Ms Burton said she believed that Ireland is the only common law country in the world that does not have a law to allow adopted people access to details about their birth.

Maree Ryan-O'Brien, from Aitheantas Adoptee Identity Rights, has described the revised Adoption Bill as "flawed."

She said "there is an absence of fact, there is an absence of knowledge and there is an absence of humanity."

Ms Ryan-O'Brien said she would have concerns about the involvement of Tusla and the Adoption Authority of Ireland, as proposed.

"The AAI seems to be gifted with an almost judicial position, in that they will rule as to whether an adoptee is entitled to their own information or not," she added.