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Minister for Children & Youth Affairs Fitzgerald asks Adoption Authority to visit Vietnam

Published on Tuesday 12th April 2011, www.merrionstreet.ie

Minister Fitzgerald has today asked the Chairman of the Adoption Authority to visit Vietnam to assess current standards in their ratification of the Hague Convention. The Minister and the Authority agreed that, in view of the fact that Vietnam hopes to ratify the Hague Convention in June, it would be appropriate for the Authority to visit Vietnam. The purpose of the visit is to explore the progress Vietnamese authorities have made in addressing the profound concerns which caused the suspension of adoptions.

‘I am pleased that Vietnam has signed the Hague Convention, but recognise the significant body of work that still needs to be done to protect children and fully ratify the Convention. With this in mind, I have asked the Authority to visit Vietnam to assess current standards and provide me with a report so that we can give clarity to Irish people who are anxiously awaiting information on progress in Vietnam.’

Minister Fitzgerald made her comments today when she met with the Chairman and the new Chief Executive Office of the Adoption Authority.  ‘The Adoption Authority was established in November, and the first CEO has just been appointed. It is therefore very timely for me to meet the Authority and to start working together to move the adoption agenda forward.’

The Minister congratulated Ms. Elizabeth Canavan, the new CEO, on her appointment.  Ms. Canavan, who took up the post yesterday, has considerable experience in adoption matters, including the drafting of the 2010 Adoption Act, active involvement with the Hague Conference on Private International Law and visits to countries of origin, including Russia and Vietnam.  ‘I am delighted that the Authority has a CEO with such experience, which will be very helpful as it moves forward’.

The meeting discussed the proposed information and tracing legislation and issues about intercountry adoption.  The Minister expressed her sympathy for the anxiety of many prospective adoptive parents and said that she is anxious that the Authority would provide clarity to Irish people who want to adopt abroad.  The Minister referred to the work of the Adoption Authority, under the Chairmanship of Geoffrey Shannon.

Considerable progress has been made on accrediting bodies to provide adoption services and on developing new procedures.  I am hopeful that the appointment of a CEO will ensure that quick progress is made on a range of issues, including developing relationships with countries of origin’.  She added that the Authority is fortunate to have hired someone with the national and international expertise of Geoffrey Shannon as Chairman, and said that she looked forward to working closely with the Authority over the next few months.

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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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