Fine Gael TD for Galway West & Mayo South

PQ No. 112 – 28th January – Status of Amendments to Civil Registration Act

To ask the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide an update on the Civil Registration Amendment Bill and its progress in view of ongoing concerns regarding the registration of deaths abroad.

– Seán Kyne.

R E P L Y:

On the 19 July, 2013, the Cabinet approved the drafting by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel to the Government of the Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill.

I brought this proposal for legislation to the Cabinet as there are a number of important policy issues that I want to see implemented through amendments to the 2004 Act.  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 also identified areas where legislative amendments are required to streamline the service to the general public.

The Bill is currently being drafted by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel.  The issues are complex but it is a priority for me to have it published at the earliest possible date.  I am looking for it to be completed by end April if feasible and certainly no later than end June.

The legislation will provide for the development of a mechanism to register the deaths of Irish persons normally resident in the state, who die while on short term absences from the state.

Usually when a person dies abroad the death is registered by the authorities in that country and a certified copy of the death registration is obtainable from that country.  In general, only deaths which occur within the State can be registered here although there are some exceptions such as for the death of a person on board an Irish aircraft, the death of a member of the security forces serving outside the State or where a death occurs in a country which does not have a system in place to register deaths.

However, I realise that there are situations where it is very important for families to have the death of their loved one registered in Ireland.  In this regard the Department has examined options for providing a mechanism that deals with these cases in a way that addresses the concerns of families while ensuring the validity of the current registration process.