I move amendment No. 1:
In page 6, between lines 38 and 39, to insert the following:
“ “stillborn child” means a child who, at birth, weighs not less than 500 grammes or has a gestational age of not less than 24 weeks and shows no sign of life, and “stillbirth” shall be construed accordingly. These also include an unborn child who dies in the womb of the mother due to death of the mother but otherwise meets the weight or age criteria herein;”,”.
We discussed the matter at some length on Committee Stage and I do not wish to go over all the same ground again. I am a little confused at the Government's position on the matter because we are all trying to achieve the same objective, namely, to enable the registration of a stillborn child in certain circumstances. For many years it was thought one could not do that under the law as it stands, but the Government has recently received legal advice to the effect that this is not the case and it is possible to register certain stillborn children. The Minister of State, Deputy Kevin Humphreys, kindly provided me with a copy of the legal advice on the previous occasion we debated the matter and I discussed it with a number of lawyers. Needless to say, they all disagree with it.
We are trying to achieve a certain objective. The Government has decided to achieve it by taking a strange, contested interpretation of the law, which is currently being hotly disputed before the courts. Our approach is to put forward a straightforward amendment that would achieve the objective without any difficulty. It may be that the amendment contains something else that could lead to further unforeseen consequences. If there is, perhaps the Minister of State would indicate what that is.