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Family Law Solicitors

Ireland and Child Abduction

These statistics are incomplete in that they failed to include children taken to Muslim countries and outside the remit of both The Hague and Luxembourg conventions.

Ireland is a signatory to both The Hague and Luxembourg conventions and these conventions have been incorporated into Irish Domestic Law by the Child Abduction and Custody Orders Act 1991. Ireland also comes under Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2201 – 2003 of the 27th November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of Judgments in Matrimonial matters and in matters of parental responsibility.

An Application in respect of a child abducted into this State must be addressed to the Central Authority for Ireland. Their contact details are as set out below:

Department of Justice
Equality and Law Reform
Bishop Square
Redmond Hill
Dublin 2
Phone: 353 (1) 479 0200
Fax: 353 (1) 479 0201
Email: child_abduct@justice.ie
Website: www.justice.ie

An Application Form for the submission to the Central Authority is available on the above website. In Ireland Child Abduction Legal Services are arranged by the Irish Central Authority exclusively through Legal Aid Solicitors in Law Centre provided by the Legal Aid Board

The Legal Aid Board can be contacted at the following address:

Head Office
Quay Street
County Kerry
Phone: 066 947 1000
Fax: 066 947 1035
Email: info@legalaidboard.ie
Website: www.legalaid.ie

Solicitors in Private Practice can be instructed in the following situations.

  • Where a parent chooses not to avail of legal services through the Legal Aid Board.
  • Where a parent wishes to be privately represented.
  • Where a parent who has removed the child to Ireland is not eligible for Legal Aid.
  • Where a Lawyer in another jurisdiction seeks a Legal Opinion in relation to Irish Law.
  • Access Applications under Article 21 of The Hague Convention which have not been legally aided.

Statistics indicate that almost twice the number of children are abducted into Ireland as are removed from the country. The greatest number of abductions related to England and Wales followed on by the United States.

Organisations which can assist parents who have children abducted to countries which are not members of The Hague Conventionare:


(The Irish Centre for Parentally Abducted children)
43 Molesworth Street,
Dublin 2
Tel. 6620667
email: icpacseminar@gmail.com

Reunite International

P O Box 7124
Leicester LE1 7XX
Advice line 0044 (0) 162556234
Tel. No.: 0044(0) 116255534

Applications under The Hague/Luxembourg Conventions are taken in the High Court. If there is a threat of abduction of a child, an Application can be made to the District Court, Circuit Court or High Court for various Orders such as custody, Orders restraining removal from the jurisdiction, Orders in relation to Passports.

In Irish Law unmarried parents are in a different position from married parents in that the mother of the child is automatically the sole Guardian and Custodian of the child. The unmarried father must be put into joint Guardianship position either by way of a Legal Agreement or by virtue of a Court Order. Ireland has incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into Irish Domestic Law and the right to respect for family and private life of established unconventional families pursuant to Article 8 are afforded due respect.

The rights of natural fathers to custody of their children must now be interpreted in light of a recent Judgement of McKechnie J and the case of GT –v- KAO and The Attorney General unreported 10th September 2007. In that case the Judge recognized that for the purposes of The Hague Convention Inchoate Rights are not part of our Law. There are some steps that can be taken to prevent or minimize risk of Child Abduction and they can be numerated as follows:

  1. Obtain a Court Order for custody/joint custody or access with an Order restraining removal from jurisdiction without the consent of either the Court or the other party.
  2. If not married, then an Order should be made in relation to Guardianship and in relation to access.
  3. If the child has a Passport, ensure that it is secure. If a child has dual citizenship, write to the non Irish Embassy requesting that a Passport not be issued without notification to you.

Why engage MC Solicitors?

Marion Campbell has 30 years' experience in family law, a proven track record with precedent setting landmark cases. She is ex-Chair of the Family Lawyers Association of Ireland and is a member of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She has lectured in the Law Society on Family Law and has published several articles. She provides a personal and caring service on an individual basis to every client.


Ex chair Family Lawyers Association of Ireland.

Member Family Lawyers Association.

Member International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Member Dublin Solicitors Bar Association.

Member American Bar Association Section.

Member ART Section Family Law Committee American Bar Association.

Lecturer - Law Society of Ireland.


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