Wednesday, 6 November 2013
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
The person referred to by the Deputy first came to the attention of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2009 when his family contacted the Consular Assistance Section. My Department has been providing consular assistance through our Embassy in Egypt and the Consular Assistance Section in Dublin. Cases of this nature are complicated by the fact that Egypt is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, which provides a legal framework for resolving international child abduction cases.
I wish to advise the Deputy that this case has been raised with the Egyptian authorities at the highest levels on a number of occasions. In February 2010 former Minister Micheál Martin raised this case with the Foreign Minister during a visit to Cairo. I discussed the case with the Egyptian Foreign Minister at the United National General Assembly in September 2011 and I raised the case when I met with the Egyptian Foreign Minister in February 2012. The Embassy in Cairo is in contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt and our Consular Assistance Section continues to liaise directly with the family on a regular basis.
Let me assure you that the Consular Section will remain in contact with the family and, with the Embassy of Ireland in Cairo, will continue to provide all possible consular assistance to this family. However, it should be noted that the Irish Government cannot force the Egyptian Government or the abducting parent to return a child to Ireland.
Officials in my Department are in contact with the Department of Justice, Equality and Defence, which is the lead Department for the negotiation of bilateral agreements on child abduction.