Thursday, 12 February 2004

Questions (155)

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

155 Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children the position of child adoption from Vietnam; if a bilateral agreement between our countries has been completed; and if such adoptions can proceed. [4497/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

During 2002 the Vietnamese authorities decided that from the end of 2002 adoptions would only be allowed to countries with a bilateral agreement. Last March I contacted the Irish ambassador and a delegation headed by the Ambassador to Malaysia and Vietnam negotiated a bilateral agreement on inter-country adoption. Ireland and Vietnam signed the agreement and Vietnam ratified it on 7 January.

The Adoption Board has worked with its counterparts in Vietnam to set up the practical arrangements and procedures for Vietnamese adoptions. My Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs have been examining options to enable ratification of the agreement by the State as soon as possible. As this is a State agreement the terms must be examined very closely to ensure that the State can meet its international obligations. The work has been completed and the matter will be brought before the Government shortly with a view to ratifying it within the next fortnight. Under the terms of the agreement adoptions can recommence 30 days after Ireland has ratified the agreement.