Dáil Éireann - Volume 675 - 17 February, 2009
Written Answers. - Inter-Country Adoptions.
Deputy Finian McGrath Deputy Finian McGrath
Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children when the bilateral agreement between Ireland and Vietnam to facilitate inter-country adoption will be signed and finalised; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5676/09]
Deputy Barry Andrews Deputy Barry Andrews
Deputy Barry Andrews: The Adoption Bill 2009, which will give force of law to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, was published on Friday 23rd January. Under the new legislation, prospective adoptive parents will be able to adopt from countries which have also ratified the Hague Convention, and countries with which Ireland has a bilateral agreement which meets Hague standards.
While it is true to say that our current Agreement with Vietnam is based on Hague principles, as part of the preparations for our new legislation we need to ensure that our Agreement reflects the Hague Convention as comprehensively as possible. A new Agreement allows the opportunity to elaborate and strengthen some existing provisions to meet the standards which it is anticipated will be set in draft legislation. There have been considerable developments in intercountry adoption in Vietnam since the Agreement was signed 5 years ago. This progress also needs to be reflected in any new Agreement.
In December 2008, the Irish Government issued a formal request to the Vietnamese Authorities stating that we wish to enter into discussions immediately for the purpose of negotiating a new Agreement to follow on from the existing Agreement which will expire on 1 May 2009. The Vietnamese Authorities have responded positively to Ireland’s request.
Ireland offered to provide the Vietnamese Authorities with the text of a draft agreement as a basis for negotiations. An initial draft was prepared by my officials and was submitted to  colleagues in the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General’s Office for their consideration in December 2008.
At present, the text of the draft is being finalised following the receipt of legal advices. Once the text of the draft has been agreed between the OMCYA, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General’s Office it will be forwarded to the Vietnamese Authorities for their consideration. It is anticipated that we will be in a position to forward this draft to Vietnam very shortly.
The work to prepare for and advise the Government on this issue and the implementation of Government’s decisions is being given the highest priority. These are complex matters which require careful consideration. At all times, the Minister and the Government, and officials advising them, are guided by the need to respect and protect the best interests and rights of the child.
Dáil Éireann 675 Written Answers. Inter-Country Adoptions.