Authority chief draws
line between humanitarian aid and adoptions
By Conall O Fátharta
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
THERE must be a clear
distinction between humanitarian aid and individual adoptions in any
future dealing with countries involved in inter-country adoption,
according to the chairman of the new Adoption Authority of Ireland,
Mr Shannon was speaking
at an event marking the enactment of the Adoption Act 2010 and the
appointment of the new authority.
The new act sees Ireland finally ratify the Hague Convention on the
Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country
Mr Shannon said the new act was "a world-class piece of
legislation" that would provide potential adoptive parents with
assurances in relation to adoption. "It has been a source of
embarrassment internationally that it has taken so long to ratify this
key international treaty, a standard-setting instrument. Sometimes there
is an overemphasis in the media about what country we are doing business
with and an under-emphasis on actually ensuring that adoption be a
Mr Shannon spoke forcefully on the issue of humanitarian aid and the
dangers of putting pressure on other jurisdictions to enter into
"The issue of humanitarian aid is an issue that has arisen. I think
it is hugely important that we now draw a line between humanitarian aid
and adoption. We are talking about establishing standards in adoption.
That doesn’t mean to say that humanitarian aid cannot take place but
there cannot be a link between humanitarian aid and adoption. We will
redouble the efforts of the authority to ensure there is a clear
demarcation between both those things.
"Putting pressure on jurisdictions to enter into agreements is
actually contrary to the spirit of Hague. In a spirit of co-operation we
will work with jurisdictions and jurisdictions that feel that they are
in a position to enter into an agreement, we will work with them.
However, putting pressure on jurisdictions to enter into agreements has
the potential to lead to child-trafficking and child-laundering and
sometimes that is a message that people just don’t want to hear,"
Mr Shannon also stressed that the new authority intended to deal with
the issue of illegal birth registrations and welcomed Minister for
Children Barry Andrews’ announcement that work had begun on
legislation to provide tracing and information for adopted people and
For his part, Mr Andrews said the new act and the establishment of a new
adoption authority was a key element of a "complete overhaul of the
adoption process in Ireland".
"In terms of inter-country adoption, we have now joined the
‘Hague Club’, a group of countries, which aims to promote high
standards and good practice in adoptions of children.
"Though inter-country adoption will always involve an element of
risk, Hague countries work together to reduce such risk and to build
confidence in the process in both sending and receiving countries. The
central aim of the legislation is to provide children and prospective
adoptive parents with greater protections when affecting an
During the transition phase of the Adoption Act, people who have queries
about both domestic and inter-country adoption should contact their
local HSE social work department.
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