Tuesday July 11th 2006
THE registrar of the Irish Adoption Board employed corrupt adoption
facilitator My Linh Soland to act as a guide last week - despite the
fact that she was under investigation by his organisation and the
Kiernan Gildea travelled to Vietnam with a scout group on a
volunteering holiday which also included sightseeing excursions.
It was just one week after the Adoption Board announced its
investigation and called in the gardai to examine Ms Soland's past.
Ms Soland (65) met Mr Gildea and the children at Ho Chi Minh airport
and acted as translator and guide for the group part of the time they
were in Vietnam.
The Adoption Board announced on June 16 they were investigating
reports that Ms Soland had a criminal record for fraud and
intimidation of witnesses.
She served three years in a US prison for fraud but two years ago was
appointed as the only person authorised to facilitate Vietnamese
adoptions into Ireland.
Last week, in a series of secretly recorded meetings with an Irish
Independent journalist, Ms Soland revealed that all the Irish
adoptions relied on forged paperwork and corrupt payments.
Believing that the journalist wanted to open an adoption agency in
Northern Ireland when British adoptions reopen in the new year, My
Linh detailed how children's paperwork is forged and their histories
distorted to make them available for lucrative international adoption.
She also revealed that the humanitarian aid component of the fee
between $4,500 and $7,000 is stolen by corrupt officials. This money
then ensures that children are removed from their parents on spurious
child welfare grounds or are taken illegally and put up for adoption.
But despite the international investigations that were being conducted
into Ms Soland's criminal record, Mr Gildea continued with an existing
arrangement to spend his holidays with Ms Soland.
The Irish Independent has seen an email sent by Mr Gildea to Ms Soland
on June 20, four days after the Adoption Board announced they were
investigating her past and allegations she was involved in serious
criminal activity. The email was sent from Mr Gildea's Adoption Board
address and states;
"Dear My Linh, I'm sorry to hear of all the trouble you're going
through at the moment. . . I'm just writing to confirm that my Scouts
still hope to go through with their project to paint the orphanage in
Vung Tau and I hope you might still be in a position to help us as
planned. . . Looking forward to seeing you next week. . . Yours
Mr Gildea and his group then travelled to Vietnam where they were met
by Ms Soland at Ho Chi Minh airport.
She acted as a guide and interpreter during their trip and brought
them to Vung Tau orphanage which they helped to repaint.
Irish parents have recently adopted children from Vung Tau province
through Ms Soland.
She also helped Mr Gildea and the group with a number of tourist excursions.
She accompanied the group acting as a fixer, guide and interpreter.
Ms Soland's association with Mr Gildea and his group continued even
though the Vietnamese American was forced, in the middle of the
holiday, to resign from further involvement in Vietnamese adoptions to
Ms Soland's earned over US$1m from the 150 Irish inter-country adoptions.
John Keegan, the director of services at the Adoption Board, confirmed
that Mr Gildea is on "sanctioned annual leave" and was currently
Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer
(c) Irish Independent
$7,500 in "humanitarian aid" x 150 Irish adoptions = $1,125,000
Average Vietnames income: $500 p.a.
Average Irish income: €38000 (average civil service wage in 2004)
€38000 = $48000 approx
Money raised in Vietnam from adoptions for "humanitarian work":
1,125,000 / 500 = 2,250 annual salaries
The equivalent if raised in Ireland would therefore be: 48000 x 2250 =