Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Questions (97)

Joan Burton


97. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his Department has prepared written guidelines for staff and the public for dealing with transgender matters; if they are published; if staff have received training in respect of this; if his Department is participating in or making a submission regarding the review being undertaken in respect of the operation of the Gender Recognition Act 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7570/18]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

My Department performs a wide range of functions in serving Irish citizens, both at home and abroad. These include front-line consular and passport services to citizens and communities.

In relation to transgender, Section 11 of the Passports Act 2008, as amended, provides for the issuing of a passport in a new gender and, if applicable, in a new name to applicants producing a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) provided by the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection. The Passport Service provides training to staff on these sensitive cases and has written guidelines for processing applications. Information on the documents required for a passport in a new gender are available on the Passport Service website at My Department also works closely with the Transgender Equality Network Ireland, including to ensure that clarifications on any passport-related matter are provided promptly.

Following the enactment of the Gender Recognition of Foreign Births Regulations in December 2017, the Global Irish Services Division of my Department launched the Register of Gender Recognition of Foreign Births. The introduction of the Register allows Irish citizens who have obtained citizenship through Foreign Births Registration to be recorded under their preferred gender and name. As part of that initiative, staff working in the Foreign Births Registration Unit of the Department were briefed on the new Regulations, as well as on transgender issues more widely.

Separately, my Department is participating in the ongoing review of the Gender Recognition Act 2015.

Within my Department, a Sub-Committee of the Management Board on Gender Equality, Equality and Diversity was established in 2016 to support an inclusive and diverse working environment. The Committee is chaired by two members of the Management Board. The initiative works to foster a culture of respect and equality to benefit the Department, its staff and ultimately the citizens that we serve. The focus of the Sub-Committee is the Department’s treatment of the grounds for discrimination in employment equality law. Significant progress has been made on a number of Departmental initiatives to address barriers to equality in our work place and in service provision.

The Sub-Committee, in cooperation with the Human Resources Unit and other sections, runs regular events to celebrate and support equality and diversity at home and through our Mission network overseas.