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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 13°C
Selma Broeder via Flickr
Nearly 150 new cases of child abductions in 2010
Department of Justice says that 193 children were suspected abducted from and into Ireland last year – many in custody wranglings.

IRISH AUTHORITIES DEALT with 233 cases of child abductions in 2010. Of this total, 140 cases were new – that was four more than in 2009 – and 93 were cases ongoing from 2009.

Figures released this afternoon by the Department of Justice, Equality and Defence showed that 193 children were involved in the 140 new cases.

Sixty-four cases concerned abductions of children into Ireland (incoming) and 76 were abductions of children from the State to other countries (outgoing).

Of the 93 cases carried over from 2009, 53 were incoming and 40 outgoing.

Of the 140 new cases of abductions in and out of the country, 39 per cent (54) involved the UK; 11 per cent (15) involved Latvia; 9 per cent (13) involved Poland; 24 per cent (34) involved other European countries; 17 per cent (24) involved other states (including the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa).

The Central Authority for Child Abduction deals with these cases and with applications from other jurisdictions for help. The Department of Justice says the majority of applications for the return of children was made under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction, and a smaller number were made under the Luxembourg Convention.

Under these pieces of legislation, the Central Authority for Child Abduction can help return children who have been taken to or from other states which have also signed up to these laws.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said that the latest figures show that it is vital that warring parents do their best to seek mediation – or as a last resort, adhere to court rulings – in relation to custody of their children. He said:

Parental child abduction not only greatly exacerbates family conflict but also prolongs family disputes and in the overwhelming majority of cases is contrary to the welfare of the children concerned.

He said the isssue of children being removed from a state, away from a parent who had custody of them, was a “growing problem” and that he intended to make it a priority topic at the next meeting of EU Justice ministers.

The report shows that in 10 of the 117 incoming cases, the High Court ordered the return of the children; in 4 cases, the Court refused the return of the children; in 14 cases, the children were either returned voluntarily or agreement agreed between the parents/guardians. Fifty of the incoming cases were still outstanding by the end of 2010.

In the outgoing cases, 15 of the 116 cases saw a foreign court order the return of children; in 6 cases, a foreign court refused the return of the child; in 9 cases agreement was reached between the parties. Fifty of the 116 cases of outgoing abductions were still awaiting resolution at the end of last year.

If you are concerned that a child is at risk of abduction, or wish to find out more about the legislation mentioned, Citizens’ Information has a clear-English guide here>