THE 150 Vietnamese babies adopted to Ireland through convicted fraudster My Linh Soland will not have to return to Vietnam, Children's Minister Brian Lenihan said yesterday.
Ms Soland, who was the sole facilitator for all Irish adoptions, was jailed in the US in 1995 for forgery, conspiracy and intimidation of witnesses.
A lawyer, she was debarred from practising law by the Virginia state bar association in 1995 for "false and deceitful representations".
Speaking on the Orla Barry radio programme on NewsTalk 106, Mr Lenihan said no matter what was discovered about Soland and her work on the adoptions it would not affect the 150 babies she has already processed.
"They are subject to orders by the adoption board. The final orders are made and the children are adopted and that's the position," he said.
Mr Lenihan added the vetting of Soland was not carried out by his office but by the Irish Adoption Board.
"The Adoption Board is an independent body and they made checks on this particular lady. And they got a full clearance for her that she had no criminal record," he said.
He denied money was paid for international adoptions. "Money shouldn't change hands . . . fees are paid to make the arrangements; that's entirely different from money changing hands to acquire children."
However, to adopt a Vietnamese baby each Irish couple was required to hand over $8,700 (?6,880) to Ms Soland, who would have grossed over $1m (?790,000) processing Irish adoptions.
Ms Soland is suspended from working on Irish adoptions pending completion of the investigation.