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New law may make it compulsory to include father's name on birth cert

A review of Ireland’s civil registration acts may make it compulsory for both parents’ details to be included on birth certs.

A REVIEW OF Ireland’s civil laws may make it compulsory to include a father’s details on a birth certificate, the Department of Social Protection has confirmed.

A report in yesterday’s Sunday Times said the government was taking legal advice on the move, ahead of a decision being made on whether to includ a provision in an update to Ireland’s current laws on civil registrations.

Today a spokesman for the Department confirmed that the matter was being considered – but added that the government’s final decision could depend on the advice of parliamentary counsel.

“Work is continuing on this, and other aspects of civil registration, and it is intended to publish an amendment bill this year,” the spokesman said.

“It is not possible at this point to say when the bill will be published or what precisely it will contain as there are many stages in the legislative process to be gone through yet.”

Reservations

Sohail Butt of the Families, Fathers and Friends group said the proposal was welcomed but it would only address “a tiny aspect of the problems with family law” – which could only be truly reformed by the creation of specialised family law courts.

The introduction of such a court system would ensure that well-meaning fathers were not kept from their children – sometimes for up to a year at a time – while paternity and DNA tests were ordered, he said.

Butt said he had engaged with some men who had been driven to suicide as a result of inadequate legal systems which meant they did not have access to their children for sustained periods.

The Law Reform Commission had proposed the establishment of such courts as far back as 1982, he said, but no government had ever acted up on the recommendation.

Irish law does not currently require a father’s details to be included in the birth certificate, though married parents would routinely include both details. There are a number of options for unmarried parents to register a child’s parental details if they so wish.

The formal register of births only records the names of the child and its mother, however.

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Gavan Reilly

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