Monday 21 July 2014

Tánaiste publishes Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill, 2014

With the removal of the 'enhanced' version of the GRO civil registration indexes from and the likelihood that these will not reappear in their launch format, Irish genealogists are not in good humour today. I know I'm not the only one shifting from rage to disbelief to despair, and this blogpost comes with a warning that my temper is a tad short today.

As some know-it-all once said, 'One has to look forward...' and while we all hate a clever dick in total control of their mood, I'm going to follow that advice and point us in the direction of the future: The Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2014.

As regular readers of Irish Genealogy News will be aware, Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D. (and now Tánaiste) took the occasion of the recent launch of the indexes to announce the imminent publication of the Amendment Bill and what it would hold for genealogists. Following Cabinet approval, the Bill was, indeed, published. Here's an edited version of the press release:

"The Bill will provide for a wide range of issues relating to the registration of life events in the State. Representations and recommendations have been made by various groups and organisations since the enactment of the Civil Registration Act 2004 and this Bill seeks to address these issues. The General Register Office which administers the Civil Registration Service has identified areas where legislative amendments are required to streamline the service to the general public.

The principal amendments that will be provided for in the Bill are:

Compulsory registration of father’s name of birth certificates

Where the parents of a child are not married to each other, current legislation does not require the mother or the father to provide the father’s details when registering the birth. This amendment seeks to address the current position by making the provision of such information compulsory other than in exceptional circumstances.

The Tánaiste said "The right of the child to know who both their parents are is a very important right. In recognising this right the Bill is giving every child a greater sense of identity."

Record of deaths of Irish persons abroad

This amendment will introduce a record of the deaths of Irish persons who are normally resident in the State who die while on short term absences abroad. A copy of the record of the death may be furnished on request. The document will have no legal standing and will not replace the original foreign death certificate but will give comfort to families who have lost loved ones

The Tánaiste added "I am pleased to be able to provide a record of deaths abroad so that families who have lost loved ones in other countries can get some comfort and closure by having the death recorded in Ireland."

Other Provisions

The Bill will provide for access to historical registers of life events to allow online access via the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s genealogical website to important information regarding our heritage. The material which will be available is as follows:
  • Births more than 100 years;
  • Deaths more than 50 years;
  • Marriages more than 75 years."
The Amendment Bill will now make its sluggish way through the legal process and will, hopefully, emerge without too many blows having been inflicted.