This is where you’ll find the guides and templates we’ve prepared to help you make requests to access information. We will update and fix any errors in these as quickly as possible and the latest version will always be available from this page.

Further down the page there are links to other resources which you may find useful. If you think there’s something we should add to this section then just let us know.

The archive of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation will transfer to the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in
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Our guides and templates will be available as soon as possible after the archive has transferred to the Minister.


These guides focus on two main types of information requests you can make.

Subject Access Requests can be made to any organisation in the public or private sector which may be processing your personal data. They are made under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an important piece of European legislation which the Taoiseach, Attorney General and Minister for Children have all confirmed applies to the records which were gathered by the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation.

Freedom of Information Requests can only be made to public bodies and are made under the 2014 Freedom of Information Act.

Full Guidebook: Requesting Your Data

Version 0.0, last updated xx March 2021

This guidebook includes information on

  • your rights under the GDPR
  • how to make a Subject Access Request
  • a template letter / email to use
  • where to send your letter / email
  • a list of Mother and Baby Homes which are included in the Commission of Investigation’s archive, which is now held by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth


Notebook Illustration

Template letter / email

Version 0.0, last updated xx March 2021

This is just the template letter / email you need to send in to the data controller in order to request access to your personal data.


Files illustration


Adoption Rights Alliance

Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) advocates for equal human and civil rights for those affected by the Irish adoption system. ARA operates a peer support network of 2,000 members, providing advocacy and practical advice to adopted people, natural parents, natural family members and others who were in informal care settings.

The Adoption Rights Alliance published an updated ‘Information Guide for Adopted People’ in 2019 which has informed and greatly assisted us in preparing our own guide.

Adoption Rights Alliance Information Guide for Adopted People (Direct link to PDF, opens in new tab)

The Clann Project

Clann: Ireland’s Unmarried Mothers and their Children: Gathering the Data (‘Clann’) is a joint initiative by Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) and JFM Research (JFMR). The purpose of Clann is to help establish the truth of what happened to unmarried mothers and their children in 20th century Ireland.

Clann provided assistance to those who wished to give evidence to Ireland’s Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters by arranging free legal assistance for individuals to make full written statements.

As part of this process, Clann anonymised shared statements, and gathered documentary and archival materials, in order to make a public group report to (1) the Commission of Investigation, (2) the Irish Government, and (3) international human rights bodies.

The My Data Rights project “aims to assist survivors of Irish Industrial and Reformatory Schools to use the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to access their personal information, including records of the testimony that they gave to a previous inquiry or redress process.”

As part of the project a guide to making Data Subject Access Requests and a guide to making complaints to the Data Protection Commission were prepared, and both of these have bene used to inform our own guides.

You can read and download both of these guides on the website.

A Beginner's Guide to FOI

Prepared and maintained by Ken Foxe, director of Right To Know. We have used Ken’s guide to inform our own guidance on making FOI requests. Here’s how he describes it – 

This guide is designed to be read by members of the public or journalists looking to dip their toes into the world of Freedom of Information in Ireland.

It is not designed to be an authoritative guide to FOI, a history book, or an academic text … it is simply a useful introduction to the first steps, the language, and the things you need to know before you start.

It deliberately simplifies what are sometimes far more complicated issues.

Data Protection Commission

The Data Protection Commission is responsible for ensuring all organisations which process personal data do so in accordance with the GDPR and the Data Protection Act.

The DPC has information on the Right of Access on its website.


All content on this site and in the downloadable guides is published under a Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) except if otherwise noted. You are free to copy and redistribute the material as long as you give appropriate credit, you do not use the material for commercial purposes, and you do not change the material.