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  • Senator Sharon Keogan

Senator Sharon Keogan — Birth Registrations

I call for a debate with the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth on the non-commencement of sections 6 to 9 of the Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2014.

The Act was passed by both Houses on 27 November 2014 and was signed into force on 4 December that year. As per section 1(3) of the Act, the Minister must commence certain sections, but this has not been done for sections 6 to 9, inclusive. The legislation has been in operation for 3,064 days but the commencement order has not been given. We should have a debate on this issue.

The sections in question relate to the registration of births and the naming of children's parents on documents in cases where the parents are not married. The provisions state it is the duty of both parents to comply with the registration of the birth of a child, notwithstanding that they are not married to each other. Where the mother of a child attends alone, she must provide information as to the father's name and contact details. Where the mother furnishes evidence and a statutory declaration that her spouse is not the father of the child, the registrar must make reasonable efforts to contact the spouse. Where parents fail to agree on the surname to be registered, a registrar may complete the registration by leaving the surname field blank or, where a surname is already registered, leaving the surname in place.

These are practical, common-sense provisions that were debated and voted for by the Oireachtas almost nine years ago. They will enable persons in the future to trace their lineage more accurately and get in contact with estranged family if they so wish. They will engender greater certainty in the birth registration system. Will the Acting Leader invite the Minister to the House to discuss the commencement of these sections of the 2014 Act?

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