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Hunger striker taken to hospital


Possible solution to visa row emerges as hunger striker taken to hospital

Trevor Quinn

The Taoiseach’s office responded this morning (Wednesday) to a Mayo woman’s plea to grant two Turkish children, whom she and her husband adopted under Turkish law, Irish visas.
The couple began a hunger strike outside the Taoiseach’s office in Castlebar on Monday morning. They remained there until this morning, when Ms Dogan was admitted to Mayo General Hospital. She was suffering from suspected hypothermia. The couple had vowed to carry on without food until an agreement to bring the girls to Ireland was reached.
Anne Dogan (nee Brennan), a native of Doocastle, Charlestown, and her husband, Fiko, a native of Turkey, adopted the two girls, who are Fiko’s neices, almost 18 months ago after the children’s mother had died. The children, aged seven and ten, are currently in a Turkish orphanage, where they have lived for two years.
The couple were informed recently that because the Turkish adoption procedure has not been recognised in the State since 2000, the Department of Justice was unwilling to grant the girls Irish visas. The couple said that they originally decided to adopt the children in Turkey following advice from the Adoption Services.
This morning, The Adoption Authority of Ireland responded to an enquiry from An Taoiseach’s office, stating plans to obtain independent expert legal opinion and evaluate the compatibility of contemporary Turkish adoption law with the new (Irish) Adoption Act 2010. 
The Adoption Act 2010 commenced on November 1, 2010. This coincided with Ireland’s formal ratification of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.
The Authority have asked the Irish embassy in Turkey to secure the names of suitable and  reputable lawyers who can examine the technical content of the legislation and the effects of the relevant Turkish statutes. This will then be assessed by an expert Irish lawyer against the new 2010 Act.
Speaking to The Mayo News this morning, a friend of Ms Dogan’s said: “The Taoiseach’s office brought about this change, and we are incredibly grateful. If this works now, it will be a permanent solution instead of a temporary arrangement, and it’s likely that this will help other families in similar positions as well.”
She said that Ms Dogan was weak and had been complaining of a headache prior to being admitted to hospital. The friend stated while the latest news was very welcome it was unfortunate that the couple had to go to such lengths to raise awareness of the obstacles they faced.
She added, “The authorities were aware that this was going ahead on Monday morning, so it could have been resolved earlier. It’s very regrettable that people have to go to these lengths in a democracy. The most important thing is the well-being of those two little kids.
“While it is now unlikely they will be able to come over in time for Christmas, we hope to have them in Ireland as soon as possible.”