Minister wants to help children in
Irish Times, MICHAEL O'REGAN Fri, Jan
Minister of State for Children Barry
Andrews said he had discussions with ministerial colleagues and others
about assisting children in Haitian orphanages.
He said he would like Ireland to help
by supporting the reconstruction of orphanages and by facilitating the
provision of respite accommodation to children and parents, as had
happened in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident.
“It may be possible for us to agree
fostering arrangements,” Mr Andrews added.
“The difficulty with adoption is that
a Haitian parent might come to Ireland in three or four years time to
look for his or her child. They might find that a bond has already been
developed between the child and the adoptive parent.”
It was clear, said Mr Andrews, that the
State would be liable if it had not carried out the correct adoption
procedures with due diligence. “This underlines some of the
difficulties that exist in this area,” said Mr Andrews.
“Adoption should not necessarily
always be the first option for people who have a strong urge to protect
and care for children.”
Speaking during the debate on the
Adoption Bill, he said that reference had been made to the right to
access information that helped one to trace people involved in
“The adoption board has been
operating a national adoption contact preference register for the last
few years,” he added. “The issue of tracing can cause serious,
complex and sensitive issues to arise.”
Mr Andrews said that while there was a
lot of interest in the register, matching could have limited success.
“Clearly, there needs to be a balance
between the right to privacy of a person who gives up a child for
adoption and the right of a child to know who his or her parents are,”
he added. It was hard to reflect those balancing rights in law, said Mr
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