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Written Answers. - Foreign Adoptions.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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 326. Mr. Perry Information on John Perry Zoom on John Perry  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the progress which has been made on a bilateral agreement with Vietnam; if there will be an agreement by January 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23585/02]

Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. B. Lenihan): Information on Brian Lenihan Zoom on Brian Lenihan I have been advised by the Adoption Board that it wrote to the Vietnamese Minister for Justice, who has responsibility for adoption matters, in November 2001, January 2002 and again in September 2002 inquiring if it would be possible to enter into a working arrangement on adoption with Ireland and asking for confirmation on whether adoptions from Vietnam to Ireland will be suspended. The board has not received a response to date but I understand that it is likely that Vietnam will suspend all adoptions to countries that do not have a bilateral agreement in place on adoption from 1 January 2003. The board has also written to the Department of Foreign Affairs asking for the Irish ambassador to make representations with the Vietnamese authorities on behalf of the board concerning these issues.

I have recently asked the Irish Ambassador to Vietnam to raise Ireland's interest in negotiating a bilateral agreement on adoption with the Vietnamese authorities and to take the necessary steps to facilitate this process. I have also asked my Department and the Adoption Board to assist the ambassador in the negotiation process if that proves helpful. I intend monitoring progress in this regard and have asked my officials to keep me informed of developments.

In considering working arrangements with other countries it is essential that we are satisfied that these arrangements uphold the spirit of the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption and that all adoptions take place in the best interests of the children concerned.

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