Written Answers. - Departmental Legislation.

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

875 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will supply a list of the specific steps taken since 26 June 1997 to date towards ratification of The Hague Convention on taking evidence abroad; when this convention will be ratified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19510/00]

The Government has included in its legislative programme a proposal to bring forward legislation in the area of civil evidence. Ratification of The Hague Convention on the taking of evidence, and other relevant international instruments, will be considered in the context of such legislation. The development of that legislation is subject to the disposal of other priorities.

The Vienna action plan of 3 December 1998, on how best to implement the provisions of the Treaty of Amsterdam establishing an area of freedom, security and justice, provides for measures to improve and simplify co-operation between courts in the taking of evidence to be adopted within five years of the entry into force of the treaty. Any instrument adopted by the member states in this area, subject to Ireland opting in to its adoption under Protocol 4 of the treaty, will also inform domestic legislation in this area.

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

876 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when the Council of Europe 1996 convention on the exercise of children's rights will be ratified; if he will supply a list of the specific steps taken towards ratification of the convention since 26 June 1997 to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19515/00]

The question of ratification by the State of the convention in question is under consideration. I previously indicated to the House in the course of debate on the Bill which led to the Children Act, 1997 that the Bill contained certain provisions which would facilitate ratification of the convention. The Act is now operational apart from two important sections. These are sections 26, social reports in the District Court, and 28, appointment of guardianad litem for a child and provision for separate representation of a child. Those two sections, which have some bearing on membership of the convention, have financial and staffing implications for the probation and welfare service and health boards. The implications are being addressed in the context of current overall reviews of delivery of services in these areas and a decision on membership of the convention will be announced in due course.

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

877 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when Ireland will ratify the convention to extend the Brussels Convention to family law; the measures in progress in this regard; the steps taken towards ratification of the convention since its adoption to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19521/00]

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

878 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when Ireland will ratify The Hague Convention of 1970 on domicile; the steps taken towards ratification of the convention since 26 June 1997; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19531/00]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 877 and 878 together.

In so far as the EU Convention on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgements in Matrimonial Matters, the Brussels II Convention, is concerned, I refer the Deputy to the reply I gave in this House to Question No. 651 on 26 January 2000, Official Report, cols. 405 and 406. The regulation referred to in that reply was adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council in May of this year and will enter into force on 1 March 2001.

I understand that The Hague Convention to which the Deputy refers is the convention of 1 June 1970 on the recognition of divorces and legal separations. The possible ratification of this convention is not in contemplation at the moment but is being kept under review.