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Adoption Authority loses second chief executive in 15 months

By Conall Ó Fátharta

Irish Examiner, Thursday, October 06, 2011

THE ADOPTION Authority has lost its second chief executive in just over a year after Elizabeth Canavan resigned just five months in the job.

Ms Canavan’s predecessor John Collins left as chief of the then Adoption Board in July of last year and was not replaced until last April, when Ms Canavan took over.

She is not the only person to have left the Adoption Authority since it replaced the Adoption Board in November of last year.

In January, it was confirmed that two members, Dr Helen Greally and medical practitioner Dr Cyril McNulty, had already stood down.

Dr Greally resigned prior to the authority coming into force, while Dr McNulty resigned for personal reasons. It is understood that neither of these people have since been replaced.

Ms Canavan is leaving to take up the position of assistant secretary at the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Geoffrey Shannon, the chairman of the Adoption Authority, said that the appointment, while disappointing for staff and the board of the authority, was acknowledged as a tribute to the very high regard in which Ms Canavan is held in the field of child welfare.

"Ms Canavan has wide experience across the children’s agenda and that experience has obviously been recognised in this new appointment. She has had considerable impact on the authority in the time she has been with us, strengthening strategic planning and putting in train the internal organisational change required by the Adoption Act, 2010."

Mr Shannon acknowledged that Ms Canavan will continue to play an important role in adoption policy which will be an integral part of her new remit as assistant secretary in the department.

"The authority is pleased that Ms Canavan will continue to have a key role in the adoption area. While the authority has an independent role, the authority and the Department share a number of objectives.

"Ms Canavan’s new position, combined with her unique perspective, will support the cooperation and collaboration required between the two organisations in advising the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs."

The Adoption Authority confirmed that it has already begun the process of recruiting a replacement.

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“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning . . . and the most disquieting loneliness." 

Alex Haley, Author of Roots 





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