The Minister for Justice and Equality, Mr Alan Shatter T.D., today released the 2011 figures on applications dealt with in his Department by the Central Authority for Child Abduction. The key figures are:-
• The Central Authority for Child Abduction dealt with a total of 261 cases in 2011. 142 of these were new cases (2 more than in 2010) while 119 were ongoing cases carried over from 2010.
• Of the 142 new cases involving 198 children, 53 concerned abductions into the State (incoming) from other countries while 89 concerned abductions from the State (outgoing) to other countries. Of the 119 cases still active from the previous year, 60 were incoming and 59 outgoing.
• In summary, a total of 113 incoming cases and 148 outgoing cases were being processed by the Irish Central Authority in liaison with other national Central Authorities.
• Of the 142 new applications received by the Irish Central Authority, 61% (87) involved the United Kingdom; 7% (10) involved Poland; 4% (6) involved Latvia; 16% (22) involved other European countries and 12% (17) other contracting states (e.g USA; Canada; Australia; S. Africa).
The Irish Central Authority was established on foot of the Child Abduction and Enforcement of Custody Orders Act 1991. This Act gave the force of law in Ireland to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the 1980 Hague Convention). The purpose of this Convention is to facilitate the return of children who have been taken from one contracting state to another against the wishes of a parent with custody rights. In addition, there is provision for a custody or access order granted in one contracting state to be recognised or enforced in another contracting state. The Central Authority also operates under Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and in matters of parental responsibility (Brussels II bis) and the 1996 Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children (the 1996 Hague Convention). This Regulation and the 1996 Hague Convention enhance the provisions of the 1980 Hague Convention.
On release of the figures, Minister Shatter said, " Parental child abduction remains a constant problem. When family conflict occurs, it is important that estranged parents and spouses exhaust all their options to resolve differences and reach agreement in the best interests of the children involved. The use of mediation to resolve difficulties can result in agreements that can last while minimising the negative impact on all those involved. To help families access mediation, the Family Mediation Service has now been formally merged with the Legal Aid Board. The Government has also approved my proposals for a Mediation Bill which is currently being drafted. Within my remit, I will continue to work to improve the measures available to families."
27 April 2012