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Written Answers - Foreign Adoptions

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 437.  Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan  asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  when she expects the report from the Adoption Authority regarding adoptions from Ethiopia; if she has a timetable from when she receives the report to when a bilateral report will be concluded between Ethiopia and Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24158/12]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Adoptions from Ethiopia, effected under the transitional arrangements provided for in the Adoption Act 2010, are ongoing and are currently being examined, and recognised, by the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI). These transitional arrangements may lead to adoptions from Ethiopia taking place up to the end of October 2012. The Adoption Act 2010 also contains provision for a one year extension to declarations of eligibility and suitability to adopt which may lead to a one year extension to this date.

Ethiopia is not a signatory of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. In these circumstances, adoptions from Ethiopia which are not covered by the transitional arrangements referred to above would require a bilateral agreement between Ireland and Ethiopia. The negotiation of bilateral agreements on intercountry adoption with states who have not ratified the Hague Convention is governed by Section 73 of the Adoption Act 2010 which states that “the Authority, with the prior consent of the Minister, may enter into discussions with any non-contracting state concerning the possibility of the Government entering into a bilateral agreement with that State.” Any bilateral arrangements which might be entered into would be required by law to meet the minimum standards set out in the Hague Convention.

A delegation from the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) visited Ethiopia in April and held exploratory meetings with the Ethiopian authorities regarding the system of adoption which operates in that country. The delegation, in the course of its visit, held preliminary discussions with the Ethiopian authorities around the potential for a bilateral on intercountry adoption. The AAI is currently preparing a report for me on its assessment of the situation which will inform the next steps to be taken.

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