Minister of State says Bill to amend adoption legislation is being drafted


A Bill to facilitate the adoption of Chinese children and to improve the position of fathers of non-marital children in the adoption process is currently being drafted by the Government.

The Minister of State for Health, Mr Currie, said last night the Cabinet had given its approval of a Bill which would seek to facilitate the recognition of adopt ions effected in countries, such as China, whose laws permitted the termination of adoptions in certain circumstances, and to set out the Government's response to the issues raised in the Keegan judgment of the European Court of Human Rights.

The proposals to improve the position of fathers of non-marital children arise from the Keegan case in 1994, where the European Court found Irish adoption law discriminated against fathers of non-marital children.

Central to the Government's approach, Mr Currie said, was the introduction of a new statutory procedure for consulting the father of a non-marital child before the child was placed for adoption, so as to afford him an opportunity to exercise his right to make an application for guardianship and/or custody.

The new Bill would enable the father of a non-marital child to register his interest in the child and his desire to be consulted about any proposal to place it for adoption.

It would also afford a father who objected to a proposed ad option an opportunity to apply to court for legal rights in relation to the child before it was placed for adoption, Mr Currie added.