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Fitzgerald challenged on
Irish Times, Fri, Jan 27, 2012
A CLAIM by the Minister for Children that there is no evidence that previous
adoptions in Mexico by Irish couples are unsafe has been challenged in the Dáil.
Frances Fitzgerald referred to the controversy in Mexico where 11 Irish
couples had been questioned following the discovery of an international
child-smuggling ring, after the arrest of three local women accused of
buying children from their mothers.
During a Dáil debate on inter-country adoption, Ms Fitzgerald assured
parents who had previously adopted from Mexico that the Adoption Authority
of Ireland “has no evidence that previous adoptions are unsafe or are
affected by the recent events in Mexico”.
Socialist Party TD Clare Daly questioned the statement and said that of 92
children adopted by Irish couples, 60 were arranged by a lawyer called
Lopez, who was being sought by police in Mexico.
“How can the Irish Adoption Board say adoptions from Mexico are safe if
the Mexican authorities are seeking an individual who has arranged
two-thirds of those adoptions?” the Dublin North TD asked. The lawyer was
being sought for “illegal practices in adoption involving 60 children
adopted by Irish parents, yet the adoption board is on record as stating
that all existing adoptions of Mexican children by Irish couples are safe.
Both those scenarios cannot be correct.”
During the debate Ms Daly also criticised the media focus on the
difficulties faced by up to 20 couples who desperately wanted to adopt from
Vietnam, saying they had ignored the plight of 55,000 adopted adults in
Ireland, “many of whom were illegally adopted in the State”. There was a
“double standard” around adoption because in the past, “Ireland was a
huge exporter of children, much to our shame”.
There was now a similar situation in other countries where “in many
instances people in poor and difficult socioeconomic circumstances have been
Sinn Féin spokesman on children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin also highlighted
the “shady motivation” of some adoption organisations overseas and
warned of “baby businesses masquerading as adoptions organisations”.
“For many years poor children in Ireland were taken from their parents
because others felt they ‘knew best’ and that there was a better class
of parent elsewhere.
“It is not a mindset that should be applied or transferred from our past
experience to any other jurisdiction today”. Ireland had to be
“sensitive to the factors that lead parents in less well-off countries to
place their children for adoption” and many would not give their children
up if they could financially support them, he said.
Opening the debate, Ms Fitzgerald said events in Mexico served to reinforce
the need to “ensure that all intercountry adoptions are properly regulated
and effected in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention”, a
set of “core standards designed to ensure good practice”. She said there
was no provision for private adoptions in Mexico. The Adoption Authority
registered 341 foreign adoptions in 2003, rising to a high of 397 in 2008,
she added. The number had declined since, with about 200 inter-country
adoptions in 2010 and 2011.
© 2012 The Irish Times
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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
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