By: JAMIE SMYTH, Irishtimes.com
Irish authorities received 136 new cases of child abduction in 2009, a slight drop on the number of cases notified a year earlier.
In 75 of these cases a child or children were taken from the Republic against the wishes of a parent or guardian. The remaining 61 cases involve a child or children brought into the State by a parent or guardian, who may not have the legal right to custody.
Some 183 children are caught up in these abduction cases, which have been referred to the Central Authority for Child Abduction within the Department of Justice.
New figures released by Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern today show 53 cases involve children being abducted from or to England and Wales. Poland (16), Northern Ireland (9) and Latvia (8) are the other countries with a large number of abduction cases.
The Central Authority for Child Abduction also carried over 86 abduction cases from 2008, which had not been dealt with. This meant it processed 222 cases last year, which were dealt with under various international legal conventions aimed at returning children who have been removed from one state to another without consent.
Half of the 222 cases dealt with children brought to the Republic. In seven cases the High Court ordered the return of the children to the country from where they were taken. In five cases the High Court refused the return of the children and in 16 cases the children were voluntarily returned or the parties reached an agreement.
There were 52 cases awaiting resolution at the end of 2009.
In 10 of the 111 outgoing cases, where children were taken from Ireland without consent, foreign courts ordered their return. In three cases the foreign court refused the return of the child and in six cases the children were either voluntarily returned or an agreement was reached. At the end of 2009 some 39 cases were still awaiting resolution.
More than half of the 222 applications dealt by the Central Authority for Child Abduction in 2009 were made under the Hague Convention, which is designed to ensure the immediate return of children who have been removed from one contracting state to another. This usually occurs when a parent defies the wishes of the other parent.
The convention is based on the principle that the custody of a child should be decided by courts in the state in which the child habitually resides.
Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service
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