94. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the assistance available for an Irish person (details supplied) whose children have been moved to another jurisdiction by their partner without their consent; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4137/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will appreciate, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on any family matter which may be the subject of legal proceedings now or in the future. The father should seek legal advice in relation to what legal measures are available to him regarding the return of his children to this jurisdiction.
The procedures for dealing with situations of international parental child abduction involving countries which are party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction are set out in the Child Abduction and Enforcement of Custody Orders Act 1991. EC Regulation 2201/2003 supplements and supports the terms of the Hague Convention in instances of international parental child abduction between EU Member States excluding Denmark.
A network of Central Authorities has been established in contracting states to facilitate applications for the return of children under the Hague Convention. The Deputy might note that both Northern Ireland and Ireland have established such Central Authorities and the Irish Central Authority for International Child Abduction is part of my Department. The father in question may wish to contact the Irish Central Authority so that the Authority can assess whether it is in a position to provide assistance having regard to the particular circumstances surrounding his children's removal from this jurisdiction. The contact details for the Irish Central Authority are:
Central Authority for International Child Abduction
Department of Justice and Equality
Phone: 01 479 0200
The father may also wish to notify An Garda Síochána that his children have been removed from this jurisdiction without his consent. It is an offence under section 16 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 (as amended) for a parent to remove or retain a child under the aged of 16 outside the State without the consent of any other person having lawful control of the child.