Law on foreign adoption bodies pledged

 

The activities of unregulated foreign adoption agencies in the State will be raised in the Dail today following last night's Prime Time programme on RTE concerning one such agency, Adoptions Unlimited.

The Minister of State for Children, Mr Frank Fahey, last night said forthcoming legislation would deal with his concerns about the activities of foreign adoption agencies in the State.

The programme screened allegations that the agency, which has handled adoptions of Russian babies for Irish couples at a charge of more than £10,500, had let down customers in the US.

It also stated that the agency had been told to cease operations by the authorities in New Mexico and had been accused of continuing to arrange adoptions there.

Similar allegations were published by The Irish Times last May and denied by Mr Brendan Maloney, the man most closely associated with Adoptions Unlimited.

Last night's programme reported that Mr Maloney was no longer connected with the agency but was planning to set up a new agency in Ireland. It also stated that the authorities in Moscow were refusing to have any further dealings with him.

Mr Maloney denied in the programme that he had let anyone down or had behaved improperly.

Ms Jan O'Sullivan, the Labour Party spokeswoman on Equality and Law Reform, is to ask Mr Fahey today why he has not brought forward legislation to curb the activities of unregulated foreign adoption agencies in the State.

She said last night that while she had put down the question some time ago, Adoptions Unlimited was the agency which had been most in her mind at the time.

Mr Fahey told The Irish Times last night that he has been very concerned about some of the activities of foreign adoption agencies. Legislation which he would be introducing to prepare for the implementation of the Hague Convention on inter-country adoption would include measures to deal with these problems.

The Irish Foreign Adoption Group said adoption in general should not be attacked on the basis of the actions of a single agency. Evidence of wrongdoing should be brought to the attention of the Garda, it said.

The Adopted People's Association called last night for a ban on all foreign adoptions until the State had ratified the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children in Inter-Country Adoption.