Perhaps we have cause to be grateful that the Minister is bound by social partnership because the argument he has used could be deployed against providing any measure of adoptive leave at all. It could be used against providing any measure of leave or holidays. It could certainly have been deployed against the extension of paid and unpaid leave introduced following the review a number of years ago.
We now have a total of almost six months leave, paid and unpaid. Some is paid by the State, frequently topped up by employers. I am sure Senator Terry would be happy to limit the addition of leave to a maximum of two or three weeks to cover the possibility of having to make foreign trips in order to complete the legal process of adoption. That would hardly place an undue burden on an employer.
People do not make these visits wilfully. Adoptive parents would be happy to complete this process in a day or two if they could. They are obliged, because of the legal procedures properly insisted upon by Ireland and the country from which the child is being adopted, to go to there for a couple of weeks. Adding this period to the six months leave already provided for would not impose the type of burden to which the Minister referred.
Senator Terry's question is important. I do not have up to date figures for adoptions in Ireland and for adoptions by Irish parents abroad. It would not surprise me to learn that the proportion of adoptions which takes place abroad is high. If we are introducing a measure which is intended to improve the lot of adoptive parents we should not exclude the large percentage of them who go abroad to adopt children, at least as regards this provision. If the Minister has those figures I would be interested to hear them.