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    • Minister appoints new Board of Adoption Authority of Ireland Commencement of new term 2020-2025
      04 Nov 2020
      Minister appoints new Board of Adoption Authority of Ireland Commencement of new term 2020-2025

      The Minister for Children, Disabilities, Equality & Integration, Roderic O’Gorman TD, has appointed a new Chairperson of the Board of the Adoption Authority of Ireland for the next five-year term commencing 2 November:


      The Authority welcomes Ms Orlaith Traynor as Chairperson, Mr Sean O’Brien as Deputy Chair and Professor Sheila Greene as a new ordinary Board member.

      Ms Orlaith Traynor – Chairperson

      Orlaith Traynor is a practicing solicitor with a particular expertise in family law. Orlaith has vast experience in the area of adoption, having previously served as Deputy Chairperson on An Bord Uchtála and the Adoption Authority of Ireland for many years. She has been in private practice as a Solicitor for 45 years and has a Master’s degree in Advanced Legal Practice from the Law Society of Ireland in conjunction with the University of Northumbria; the subject for her thesis was the Birth Father’s Rights in the context of adoption. Orlaith has an advanced Diploma in Quasi-Judicial Decision Making from King’s Inns. She has presented several papers on adoption at conferences organised by the Adoption Authority and has an article on adoption published in a peer-reviewed journal, the Irish Journal of Family Law. In her capacity as Deputy Chairperson of the Authority, along with the Chair and CEO, Orlaith visited Vietnam to meet the Minister for Children there and took the opportunity to visit a children’s orphanage.

      Mr Sean O’Brien – Deputy Chairperson

      Sean O’Brien graduated in law from University College Cork in 1983 and has been in practice as a Solicitor for over 30 years. Sean’s practice is primarily in civil litigation in which he has extensive experience. Sean has a particular interest in family law and has also, for many years, advised families of children with disabilities on the creation of Wills and Trusts. In addition, he has, since 2008, been an accredited Mediator with CEDR. Sean has, over the years, been a member of a number of publicly funded Boards, most recently serving as Chair of Youth Theatre Ireland. Sean’s experience of adoption stems from the fact that he is an adoptive father.

      Professor Sheila Greene – new Board member

      Sheila Greene is a Fellow Emeritus at Trinity College Dublin and former Professor of Childhood Research. She is a Pro-Chancellor of the University of Dublin. She is a qualified clinical psychologist but most of her teaching and research has been in developmental psychology. She was the Co-Director of the national longitudinal study of children in Ireland, Growing Up in Ireland from 2006-11. Her publications include books, journal articles and commissioned reports. Her most recent book is Children as agents in their worlds (Greene & Nixon, Routledge, 2020). She was the Principal Investigator on A study of intercountry adoption outcomes in Ireland, commissioned by the Adoption Board and published in 2007.

      The Board 2020-2025

      Ms Orlaith Traynor – Chairperson

      Mr Sean O’Brien – Vice Chair

      Professor Sheila Greene – Board member

      Mr Paul Harrison – Board member (returning)

      Dr Helen Buckley – Board member (returning

      Judge Patrick McMahon – Board member (returning)

      Dr Margo Anglim – Board member (returning)

      Profiles of all the Board members can be found at https://aai.gov.ie/en/who-we-are/membership-of-the-adoption-authority.html

      The new Board will convene for their inaugural meeting on Tuesday 10 November.

      The Authority thanks all returning Board members for taking on these roles and continuing to bring their skills and expertise to the Board, and is grateful to Dr Geoffrey Shannon, Chairperson, and Ms Anne O’Flaherty, Board member, whose terms have expired, for their dedication over the past several years.


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    • Intercountry Adoption in Ireland: Experiences, Supports Challenges. Country Briefings: Russia
      23 Oct 2020
      Intercountry Adoption in Ireland: Experiences, Supports Challenges. Country Briefings: Russia

      The Board of the Adoption Authority of Ireland and the Authority’s Research Advisory Committee are delighted to announce the publication of the second in a series of short research reports. Dr Geoffrey Shannon, Chairman of the Adoption Authority, said of this programme of research:

      This is important and detailed research, showing the history of intercountry adoption in Ireland over 30 years, and will inform further research initiatives of the Authority."

      This particular research report looks at the adoption of children from Russia into Ireland between 1992 and 2014.


      ·         Between 1992 and 2014, 1628 children were adopted from Russia by parents habitually resident in Ireland.

      ·         Adoptions from Russia accounted for the largest proportion of all intercountry adoptions into Ireland between 1991 and 2019, representing 33% of Ireland’s total intercountry adopted population.

      ·         The child’s average age at adoption was 1 year and 8 months.

      ·         Current Age, October 2020: 92% of this group are currently aged between 10 and 22, with 13-18 year olds accounting for over half of the total figure. The mean current age of a child adopted from Russia into Ireland is just over 16 and a half years old.

      ·         The population of Russian ICA individuals living in Ireland today came from a relatively homogenous background of institutionalised care, and are likely to have faced a number of early challenges.

      ·         The report in full is available below:



      For more information on our research, or to be added to our mailing list, please visit

       www.aai.gov.ie/en/what-we-do/research.html, call 01 2309 300, or email

      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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    • Children First Summary Report
      05 Oct 2020
      Children First Summary Report

      SUMMARY REPORT OF Children First Compliance report 2019/2020 

      The Adoption Authority’s Children First procedures are detailed in the Authority’s Child Safeguarding Statement. This has been updated in accordance with The Children First Act 2015 and The Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017. A Risk Assessment and Child Safeguarding Statement form part of the child protection procedures in the Adoption Authority.

      An annual Child Protection compliance report is sent to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Adoption Policy Unit.

      The Adoption Authority of Ireland does not provide direct services to children so there is limited contact with children, and children are supervised at all times by their parent or carer when in the Authority’s offices. It is policy within the organisation that staff, including Board members, Executive Staff, in house Solicitor and Medical Advisor also have access to confidential information about children, undergo regular Garda vetting. Child protection issues are routed through the Children First Designated Liaison Person to the appropriate Tusla personnel.

      Child protection concerns can come to the notice of the Authority through the mediation and counselling provided for the National Adoption Contact Preference Register; through reviews of assessments for adoption; or can be received through duty calls, letters and emails.

      Adoption service providers accredited by the AAI have written policies and procedures on Children First guidelines and these policies are noted to be current at review and accreditation times.

      The agencies currently holding a valid accreditation are: Pact, HHAMA, St. Brigid’s and Barnardos

      The Adoption Authority Children First Designated Liaison Person details:

      Katie Harrigan, Senior Social Work Practitioner, AAI, tel 01 2309 318, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

      The Children First Deputy Designated Liaison Person is Nicole Scannell, Social Work Team Leader, AAI tel 01 2309 322, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

      Functions of the Children First Designated Liaison Person are also undertaken by Social Workers on in the organisation during specified times, Monday to Friday. Under the Children First Act 2015, all social workers and the Medical Advisor at the Authority, are Mandated Persons for the purposes of reporting issues of child protection above a certain threshold to relevant Tusla personnel.

      All Authority Board members and executive staff who have access to confidential information about children, are Garda vetted every 2 years. New staff members are vetted on entry to the Authority every 2 years. New vetting policy and procedures are being carried out in compliance with the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016.

      The Garda Vetting Officer in the AAI is Fiona Monaghan, Head of Compliance and Resources. Contact details are Fiona Monaghan, Head of Compliance and Resources, tel 01 2309 347, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

      The Children First Compliance report summarises the number and type of calls to the social work phone line covering a one-year period (1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.)

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    Mission Statement

    " To ensure the provision of the highest possible standards of adoption related services, throughout the lifelong adoption process, with the best interests of children as the first and paramount objective."