The Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone has put a bill that will give adopted people access to their birth records on hold to allow for more consultation with stakeholders and the political parties.

Speaking in the Seanad this afternoon, Ms Zappone said the accounts of some adopted people about their interaction with State and Church officials in their bids to seek information that is "absolutely core to their identity" were "deeply disturbing".

A committee stage debate on the new Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill did not go ahead this afternoon.

Instead, Ms Zappone and a number of Senators gave statements about the legislation that was described as "delicate" by Fianna Fáil Senator Catherine Ardagh.

Ms Zappone spoke about the strong criticisms that have come from adopted people, advocates and others regarding the way the bill sought to reconcile the competing issues of privacy and identity.

Sharing her personal views she described a lengthy letter she wrote to the Attorney General Seamus Woulfe where she outlined to him that she was "of the very strong view that we needed to adopt a different approach in preparing amendments to the bill for committee stage."

"These views expressed by adopted people about their life experiences and their interaction with State and Church officials and agencies particularly with regard to their efforts to seek information that is absolutely core to their identity was deeply disturbing to me."

The minister outlined that she met with advocacy groups, lawyers, and social workers in her Department last night as part of her consultation with key stakeholders on the bill.

After that meeting she decided it would be "more helpful" to have an exchange of views about some of the challenges of the legislation in the Seanad today before proceeding with committee stage.

The bill was published towards the end of 2016 and it was brought before the Seanad in May 2017. It seeks to put in place a comprehensive statutory scheme for information and tracing.

It also provides for relevant records to come into the custody of the Adoption Authority of Ireland; and for the creation of a searchable electronic database for those records.

"In applications for the release of identifying information, important rights are engaged in relation to privacy and identity. But the legislation must provide a mechanism for balancing these rights in individual cases."

She acknowledged that balancing these rights has been a "considerable challenge" and delayed the progress of the bill.

She spoke about the strong criticisms that have come from adopted people, advocates and others regarding the way the bill sought to reconcile the competing issues of privacy and identity.

Sharing her personal views she described a lengthy letter she wrote to the Attorney General where she outlined to him that she was "of the very strong view that we needed to adopt a different approach in preparing amendments to the bill for committee stage."

"These views expressed by adopted people about their life experiences and their interaction with State and Church officials and agencies particularly with regard to their efforts to seek information that is absolutely core to their identity was deeply disturbing to me."

She said: "I stated that it was my considered view that the approach of the bill, while not intended to, would extend the harm that adopted people through legal or illegal means have experienced in the past into the present."

She wants to meet the political parties and independents "to discuss and engage further on these difficult, sensitive and technical matters with regard to rights of natural parents and adoptive persons."

She also wants to continue consultations with stakeholders and interest groups.