President Michael D Higgins has signed the Mother and Baby Homes Bill into law but highlighted that concerns were raised during the discussion which "are serious and must be addressed".

A statement issued tonight said the President followed the passage of the Bill through both Houses of the Oireachtas and "listened carefully to the debate and the issues raised as to the rights of access to information submitted to a Commission".

"While noting that important concerns were raised in the discussion on this Bill which are serious and must be addressed, the Bill itself did not directly raise a constitutional issue suitable for an Art 26.1.1 referral," said the statement.

The statement added that: "The President's decision to sign this legislation leaves it open to any citizen to challenge the provisions of the Bill in the future."

On Thursday, the Government won a key Dáil vote on the controversial legislation by the substantial margin of 78 votes to 67.

In September, the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes said bespoke legislation would be required to safeguard and transfer a database of the mothers and children who were resident in the main mother-and-baby homes.

The bill provided for the database to be sent to Tusla, which raised concerns among former residents of the homes and their families over their ability to access the information held by the Child and Family Agency.

Under a 2004 act, the remaining archives will be sealed for 30 years.