Thursday 18 February 2021

Deadline for registering deaths in Ireland may be cut

The General Register Office (GRO) in Ireland is considering reducing the time allowed for deaths to be registered. Currently, relatives are expected to regsiter a death within three months. The GRO is considering cutting this to just two weeks.

A consultation has been launched today to gather views from health stakeholders, members of the public and others with an interest, to improve the efficiency of death registration. One of the proposals to be considered could result in medical practitioners electronically reporting a death within 24 hours of their pronouncement of decease.

The proposals result from work undertaken over the past few months by the General Register Office following concerns about the length of time it takes for deaths to be registered in the State, and are intended to ease the burden on families who have lost a loved one. 

Unlike other countries, Ireland does not have a system in place whereby a person’s death is notified to public authorities immediately following death. 

This has implications for national population statistics, public health management and for co-operation with international bodies.

Announcing the consultation, Registrar General TJ Fleming commented: "The death of a relative is a sensitive time for all members of the family and their wider communities and there is never a good time to seek change to time honoured and traditional practices. I welcome the proposals of the working group and invite the widest range of views to the consultation.

"This consultation allows for the views of a broad range of representative bodies and concerned members of the public to make their opinions known and have their concerns considered."

You can download the consultation document here or from the GRO at

It's not a difficult read. I found it rather interesting, and the international comparisons provided in the document (see below) gives a fascinating insight into the efficiency and priority with which death registrations are gathered elsewhere in Europe. (If the deadline is cut to two weeks as proposed, Ireland would still be in the slow lane!)