Mother and Baby Homes Survivors

Last updated: 11th January 2021
Added link to Tortoiseshack podcast
Added link to Simon McGarr’s blog post

First Published: 11th January 2021

What's This?

This is sample text which you can use to make a Subject Access Request to the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation. It is was originally posted on Twitter by solicitor and data protection expert Simon McGarr and is provided here in a format which might be easier to copy and paste.

You can see Simon’s thread of tweets of Twitter here. He also explains why he thinks survivors who were adopted out of Mother and Baby Homes should make this request to the Commission of Investigation as soon as possible in order to prevent possible redaction of records which relate to them.

Edited to add:

  1. Simon has posted this on his own site, so you can get it there too.
  2. The Tortoiseshack podcast has a twenty minute discussion with Simon McGarr on this topic.


Dear Commission,

I wish to make an access request under the Data Protection Acts and the GDPR for a confirmation that you hold data relating to me, and to be given a description of the data, the purposes for which it is held, and a copy of any information you keep relating to me, including stenographer, audio or other records. I am making this request under Article 15.3 of the GDPR.

Please also cite the legal basis of such processing under Articles 6 and 9 of the GDPR.

To aid your identifying of such documents I was [Insert dates, times, descriptions, your history as you know it etc].

Please send all replies, including copies of all data to me at [insert either an email address or postal address, as you prefer]

Please acknowledge receipt of this request by return and confirm you will set aside any intended deletion or redaction of the above-requested records under Section 6 of Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and certain related Matters) Records, and another Matter, Act 2020, as required by the principles set out by the CJEU in C-378/17, The Minister for Justice and Equality and The Commissioner of the Garda Síochána v Workplace Relations Commission.

Thank you for your assistance.

Yours faithfully


[Insert Your Name]
Downloadable versions
Click to open in a new tab, right-click and select ‘Save As’ to download)
Text of sample Subject Access Request (MS Word Document, .docx)

Where Do I Send It To?

You should send your Subject Access Request to


Since the Commission may be receiving a large number of emails at this time it might help them if you use a subject line which includes the text ‘Article 15 Subject Access Request’.


As well as any information about your history as it relates to any documents the Commission of Investigation might hold, you should also include a copy of photo identification with your request.

Why should I do this?

(This is taken from Simon’s thread on Twitter, slightly expanded and paraphrased.)

The Act passed by the Government last year was enacted before they accepted that the GDPR applied.

One of the provisions of that Act, Section 6, had the Commission contact witnesses and ask them if they’d like their identity removed from papers before they are transferred to the Minister.

As the Minister was arguing at the time that the GDPR didn’t apply (which was wrong), Section 6 didn’t require there to be a balancing between the interests of competing data subjects – like the children of mothers.

The Attorney General has accepted that balancing test is required, now.

[I] was alerted recently that the Commission has been writing out to people asking them if they would like this deletion to occur.

But the Minister’s 2020 Act doesn’t require this irrevocable processing request to consider if the data may also relate to another person.

No balancing test is required by Section 6 of the Act.

Section 6 of the Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and certain related Matters) Records, Act 2020 was drafted while Minister O’Gorman denied the GDPR applied. This is a consequence of that mistake for these adopted people. He should ensure it is fixed.

By making a Subject Access Request you should be able to ensure that no redaction or other alteration of records which contain your personal information can take place.

I'm not a survivor. How can I help?

If you would like to help those whose data may be impacted by these deletions, please contact your local government TDs and let them know that S6 of the Act passed last November needs to balance the rights of everyone to the data the Commission holds about them.

You can find contact details for your TDs on the Oireachtas website.

Where next?

Read more elsewhere


‘The Right of Access’, Data Protection Commission of Ireland

‘The right of restriction (Article 18 of the GDPR)’, Data Protection Commission of Ireland

The right to be informed (transparency) (Article 13 & 14 GDPR), Data Protection Commission of Ireland

‘Guidelines on Transparency under Regulation 2016/679’ (WP260 rev.01, 11 April 2018), Article 29 Working Party, now the European Data Protection Board


Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters) Records, and Another Matter, Act 2020 []

Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (General Data Protection Regulation) [direct link to PDF]

Data Protection Act 2018 []


Data Protection Fundamentals (basics, definitions and more …)
Your Rights (all your data protection rights: access, information, rectification and more …)
In More Detail (explorations and explanations of data protection concepts …)
Keeping Track (tracking Subject Access Requests and complaints to Supervisory Authorities …)