Dáil Éireann - Volume 470 - 30 October, 1996
Written Answers. - Foreign Adoptions.
Mr. D. Ahern Mr. D. Ahern
81. Mr. D. Ahern asked the Minister for Health the plans, if any, he has to change the adoption laws in order to facilitate the adoption by Irish families of children from the Belarusian-Chernobyl area who are available for such adoption and many of whom are suffering from the effects of the Chernobyl incident; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19867/96]
Minister of State at the Department of Health (Mr. Currie) Minister of State at the Department of Health (Mr. Currie)
Minister of State at the Department of Health (Mr. Currie): As the Deputy is aware, the Adoption Act, 1991, contains a comprehensive legal framework for the regulation of adoptions effected abroad by Irish residents and for the recognition of such adoptions. The Adoption (No. 2) Bill, 1996, which was considered by the Select Committee on Social Affairs on 2 October,  provides for certain amendments of the 1991 Act. The purpose of these amendments is to introduce greater flexibility into our statutory system for the recognition of adoptions effected outside the State. However, the Bill makes no provision for changing the pre-adoption assessment procedures set out in the 1991 Act. These procedures, which are in compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, provide an important safeguard for the welfare of children who are available for intercountry adoption. Under the procedures Irish residents proposing to adopt a child abroad must have their eligibility and suitability to adopt formally established by the Adoption Board before the adoption is completed in the foreign country, otherwise the adoption will not qualify for recognition here. Prospective adopting parents should accordingly contact their local health board for further information about the procedures.
The Adoption Board has a central role in the administration of the 1991 Act including examining the adoption laws of various countries to establish whether adoptions effected under those laws are entitled to be recognised here. In the context of the adoption of children from the Belarusian-Chernobyl area, I understand from the board that it has sought copies of the adoption laws of both Belarus and the Ukraine with a view to determining whether adoptions granted in those states qualify for recognition under Irish law.
Dáil Éireann 470 Written Answers. Foreign Adoptions.