Children's Minister Fitzgerald in Vietnam for adoption push
CHILDREN'S Minister Frances Fitzgerald (pictured ) is in Vietnam this week to discuss reopening adoption lines between the Socialist Republic and Ireland.
The minister flew out yesterday for an official visit in which she will meet Vietnam's minister for justice and senior government officials to talk about the issue.
At the moment Irish families who want to adopt can only do so from countries which have ratified the Hague Convention on the protection of children and on intercountry adoptions.
Vietnam is not yet a signatory to the agreement and the Adoption Act 2010 has affected some Irish families who had already started the process of adopting a child from there.
Between 1991 and 2008, Vietnam was one of the top three nations in the world from which Irish inter-country adoptions took place.
However, Ireland chose not to renew its bilateral agreement with Vietnam in 2009 due to concerns raised by a major Unicef international social services report into inter-country adoptions from that country.
The document found that there was virtually "no active promotion of domestic adoptions" by Vietnamese authorities, giving rise to concern that some cases may not have been in the best interests of the children involved.
More than 200 Irish couples seeking to adopt children in Vietnam will welcome new moves to restart adoption procedures between both countries.
A large number of Irish couples were in the process of adopting Vietnamese children when all adoptions from the country were suspended in January 2010.
The minister said: "I know a lot of Irish families have been very patient in regard to the long wait for Vietnam to complete the ratification of Hague.
"The re-establishment of our relationship with Vietnam in respect to intercountry adoption has been a priority for me since I became minister."