The Civil Registration Act 2019 passed its final stages through the Dáil and Seanad on 15 May and has been signed into law by the President. This Act will facilitate commencement of existing legislation that provides for registration of children of donor-assisted births.
The Act will make possible the registration, as parents, of both partners in a female same-sex relationship, whereas formerly only the particulars of the mother could be recorded in the birth register. Inclusion of both partners as parents on birth certificates will assist in affirming their parental rights in practical day-to-day matters. These new arrangements will support easier access to services such as passports for their children, school enrolment, interaction with medical practitioners, and other situations where the demonstration of parental relationship may be required.
Another key provision in the Act brings civil registration legislation in line with current legislation governing the presumption of paternity. This will make it less onerous on a woman to rebut automatic presumption of paternity of her estranged husband in the birth registration process. It will be possible for a woman to present her own evidence of separation in order to rebut automatic presumption that her estranged husband is the father of a child she may subsequently give birth to with a new partner.
The Act also includes other amendments to civil registration that include provisions:
- to allow a role for family members in registering a death in cases involving a coroner;
- to allow the Civil Registration Service to share historical records with a body under the aegis of the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht;
- to enable the Central Statistics Office to comply with EU Regulations concerning data collected as part of the death registration process; and
- other technical amendments concerning civil registrations.
I will keep under review the need to bring forward further amendments to the Civil Registration Act, to ensure that the legislative provisions keep pace with new developments.