Written Answers. - Recognition of Marriage.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

613 Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will have arrangements made to have the marriage of persons (details supplied) recognised by the State and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20206/00]

The administration of the registration system is a matter for An tArd Chláraitheoir, the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and for local registrars who operate under his general direction.

The Family Law Act, 1995, came into operation on 1 August 1996. Section 32(1)(a) of that Act provides that any marriage solemnised in the State shall not be valid in law unless the persons concerned notify the registrar in writing of their intention to so marry at least three months prior to the date on which the marriage is to be solemnised or have obtained an exemption from the notification requirement before the marriage. Section 32(1)(b) provides that the notification requirement is a substantive requirement.

The Family Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1997, was enacted to provide for the registration of certain marriages which until its enactment could not be registered due to the non-fulfillment of the section 32 requirement. However, this applies only in circumstances where the three months notification had in fact been given to a registrar other than the registrar for the district in which the marriage was solemnised.

The marriage to which the Deputy refers took place in April 1999 according to the rites and ceremonies of the Catholic Church. Notification was not received by the registrar for the district in which the marriage took place, nor by any other registrar, and a court exemption was not obtained prior to the solemnisation of the marriage. As the requirements of a valid marriage as set out in section 32 of the Family Law Act, 1995, have not been fulfilled the marriage cannot be registered.

While sympathetic to the plight of the surviving partner in this case, I regret that within the current legal framework for recognition and registration of a marriage, I am not in a position to accede to the request being made.

Question No. 614 taken with Question No. 510.