I move amendment No. 6:
In page 3, before section 4, to insert the following new section:
"4.—(1) A foreign adoption (whether effected before or after the commencement of this Act) shall be deemed to have been effected by a valid adoption order made—
(a) on the date on which the adoption was effected, or
(b) on such commencement,
whichever is the later, if, but only if—
(i) the adopters are persons coming within the classes of persons in whose favour an adoption order may, by virtue of section 15 of this Act, be made,
(ii) the adopters were ordinarily resident in the State on the date on which the adoption was effected, and
(iii) (I) in case the adoption was effected before the 1st day of April, 1991, the Board declares in writing that it is satisfied that the adopters are persons in whose favour an adoption order may, by virtue of section 15 of this Act, be made, or
(II) in case the adoption was effected on or after the 1st day of April, 1991, the Board declares in writing before the date on which the adoption was effected—
(A) that it is satisfied that the adopters are persons coming within the classes of persons in whose favour an adoption order may, by virtue of section 15 of this Act, be made, and
(B) that (having had regard to a report by the health board in whose functional area the adopters were ordinarily resident at the time of the assessment, or by a registered adoption society, of an assessment as respects the matters referred to in section 13 of the Principal Act in relation to the adopters carried out by the board or the society, as the case may be,) it is satisfied in relation to the adopters as respects the matters referred to in the said section 13.
(2) (a) The adopters or the adopted child in relation to a foreign adoption or any other person having an interest in the matter may apply to the Board for the making of a declaration under paragraph (iii) (I) of subsection (1) of this section in relation to the adopters, and the Board shall, if it is satisfied that it is appropriate to do so having regard to the provisions of that subsection, make the declaration.
(b) A person or persons to whom the said subsection (1) applies and who has or have applied, or proposes or propose to apply, for the effecting in his or their favour of a foreign adoption may, before the adoption is effected, apply to the Board for the making of a declaration under paragraph (iii) (II) of the said subsection (1) in relation to the person or persons, and the Board shall, if it is satisfied that it is appropriate to do so having regard to the provisions of that subsection, make the declaration.
(c) A person making an application to the Board under this subsection shall furnish the Board with such information as it may reasonably require and the information shall be in such form (if any) as may be specified.
(d) A document purporting to be a copy, and to be certified by an officer of the Board to be a true copy, of such a declaration as aforesaid shall—
(i) be evidence of the facts stated therein, and
(ii) be issued by the Board to any person on application by him to the Board in that behalf.".
This amendment has been framed primarily with Romanian adoptions in mind. However, it will apply to an adoption granted in any foreign country to persons who are ordinarily resident here at the time of the adoption. Since the adopters in these cases are living in this country and only travel abroad for the sole purpose of adoption, it is considered that their entitlement to recognition should be determined by reference to whether they are eligible and suitable to adopt a child under Irish law.
The Government considers that a special procedure should apply to people who had adopted children abroad before 1 April 1991. Accordingly the amendment provides a special procedure for people who have been granted a foreign adoption before that date. They will be entitled to have their adoptions recognised if they come within the classes of persons eligible to be granted an Irish adoption order and if their adoption complies with the terms of the definition of a foreign adoption as set out in substitute amendment No. 2.
It will be open to people who have adopted abroad before 1 April to apply to the Adoption Board for a declaration that they come within the classes of persons eligible to be granted an Irish adoption order. The adopted person and any other person having an interest in the matter will also be entitled to apply to the board for such a declaration. People who propose to adopt abroad after 1 April 1991 will be required to have both their eligibility and suitability to adopt a child under Irish law established before they travel abroad if they wish to have their foreign adoption recognised under this section on their return. The health boards will carry out the assessments of the suitability of prospective adopters living within their functional areas and these assessment reports will be transmitted to the Adoption Board for approval.
Amendment No. 9 will impose a statutory duty on the health boards to undertake suitability assessments for the purpose of this section. The health boards have already been requested to carry out these assessments in anticipation of the early enactment of this legislation. It will continue to be open to the registered adoption societies to undertake these assessments if they so wish. If the Adoption Board are satisfied that the prospective adopters are both suitable and eligible to adopt a child under Irish law, they will make a declaration to that effect in favour of the couple and will issue them with a copy of the declaration, which they can produce to the foreign adoption authorities. Such a declaration will be valid for a period of 12 months but the Adoption Board will have the discretion to extend this period in appropriate cases. The purpose of subsection (3) is to confirm that single people who adopt children abroad before the commencement of the legislation will be entitled to have their adoptions recognised.