The Chief Executive of the Adoption Authority has said there is no upper age-limit in terms of assessment of people wishing to adopt.

The authority's annual report contains a recommendation for an age-limit differential of 42 years,between the adopting parent and the child to be adopted.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Patricia Cleary said there was no rule relating to this.

However, she said the authority had a responsibility as a statutory agency to ensure that parents who were taking children through inter-country adoption had the capacity to parent them into their adult life.

Ms Cleary said the authority had to look at the range of needs of the children coming to Ireland through inter-country adoption.

She said on average these children were between three and four years of age and had been in institutional care.

Ms Cleary said one of the concerns the authority had was the number of prospective adoptive parents who had been assessed and received declarations.

She said the authority had a concern that unfair expectations were being raised that these people would receive a child through inter-country adoption, when in effect the number of children was actually quite small.

Ms Cleary said a number of the parents coming forward were in the older age range, and the authority had to be realistic and honest with those prospective parents, that their age range might be prohibitive in the long-term.

"When parents are being assessed for adoption we're looking at a range of things.

"We are looking at their health, we're looking at their experience with children, child protection issues, their financial background," Ms Cleary said.

“So age is one part of a suite of assessments that we look at but there is currently no upper age limit in terms of parents coming forward for assessment for adoptions," she added.