Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
185. Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children the reviews which were undertaken by the joint working group established under part V of the agreement on mutual co-operation concerning adoption between Ireland and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam regarding the provision of humanitarian financial assistance; the evaluation which was undertaken of such assistance provided; when such evaluations were conducted; and the recommendations made following such evaluations by the review group. [39510/09]
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy Barry Andrews): I indicated to the Deputy in a previous reply of 13th October 2009 that the Joint Working Group referred to did not meet on a formal basis. However, a number of joint meetings between officials from Ireland and Vietnam were held on an ad-hoc basis to support the implementation of the Agreement. Representatives of my Department and/or the Adoption Board met with their Vietnamese counterparts as required to review issues relating to adoptions from Vietnam on foot of the Agreement. Officials from my Department visited Vietnam on at least 5 occasions since the signing of the bilateral agreement in 2003.
During the course of these visits some of the matters discussed included co-operation on technical assistance, staff training, providing assistance to State competent authorities involved in adoption and the care of children as referred to in Article 24 of the Bilateral Agreement.
The issue of humanitarian aid is referred to in Article 8. 2 of the Bilateral Agreement which states that “when applying for a licence to operate in the state of origin an authorised organisation must submit its non-profit plan, including humanitarian financial assistance for nurturing institutions in the State of Origin”. Article 24 allows for the reviewing and evaluating of this aid by the Joint Working Group. However, the Irish Government had no role in authorising any amounts payable or which organisation in the sending country received such monies. Governance and accounting issues in relation to humanitarian aid were discussed during more recent meetings.
The issues discussed at all meetings fed into the thinking and drafting of future bilateral agreements and also informed the deliberations on the inter-country adoption aspects of the Adoption Bill, 2009.
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