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Generally speaking one parent is not permitted to relocate to another country without the consent of the other parent. If one parent does move to another country without the consent of the other this may constitute child abduction. Ireland is a signatory to the Hague Convention on Child Abduction. Pursuant to this convention if one parent abducts a child and brings the child to another country that is also a signatory then the Irish authorities contact their counterparts in the other country and the other state then brings proceedings in that country against the parent to force them to bring the child back to Ireland.

For unmarried parents, if a father is worried that a mother is about to take a child from the jurisdiction they can make an application in the District Court, Circuit Court or High Court for various orders in relation to custody, passports etc to prevent the child leaving. If a father is not a guardian and has not applied to be a guardian he may be in a weaker position with regard to preventing a mother leaving the country.

If a child has been abducted then a party seeking the return of the child should contact the Department of Justice at the address below.

Department of Justice
Bishop Square
Redmond Hill
Dublin 2
(01) 479 0200

Organisations which may also be able to assist, especially where the child has been taken to a country that is non a member of the Hague Convention, are:

ICPAC (Irish Centre for Parentally Abducted Children)
43 Molesworth Street
Dublin 2
01 662 0667

Reunite International
PO Box 7124
Leicester LE1 7XX

(00 44) 1625 56234