Press Release

Minister Lenihan addresses the International Adoption Association annual conference

The Minister for Children, Mr Brian Lenihan T.D., today (Saturday, 1st October, 2005) addressed the International Adoption Association (IAA) Annual Conference and stated that he hoped the proposed legislation to ratify the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, 1993, will be published in the new year.

The Minister also informed the Conference that efforts to reach a bilateral agreement on adoption with Russia were being actively pursued.

“My colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern TD raised the issue with his Russian counterpart in Moscow on 4th July 2005 and it was agreed that the issue would be followed up at official level. I cannot give any guarantee as to the success or time frame of such a demarche and must remind you of the sovereign right of the Russian Federation to decide whether or not to reach an agreement. However, you will be glad to note that the issue is being addressed” he said.

In his address the Minister acknowledged that he was very conscious of the waiting lists for intercountry assessment and of the frustration this causes. He announced that he has ensured additional funding of €1 million is provided in 2005 to the Health Service Executive to help tackle this issue.

He announced that, “The Adoption Board and the HSE have reached agreement as to how the additional €1 million provided should be spent.

Measures agreed to tackle the waiting lists include:

  • a review of the waiting times and the immediate application of the €1 million in additional, ongoing funding to tackle the backlog of applications.
  • the application process will be improved to ensure the most efficient use of administrative and social work time and to identify ineligible or unsuitable applicants early on in the process.
  • a general review by the Adoption Board and the HSE of the operation of the Standardised Framework for Intercountry Adoption to identify measures which will ensure sustainable improvements. The HSE reform programme affords us the opportunity to review the provision of adoption services. The Adoption Board has agreed to fund this important review.

I look forward to their recommendations to provide for the greater standardisation of the service and sustainable improvements in the waiting times.”