Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (38)

James Browne

Question:

38. Deputy James Browne asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the position regarding the citizenship of a child born abroad to a non-citizen in a same sex marriage in cases in which the non-birth mother is an Irish citizen; the reason the State does not recognise non-birth mother parentage with the result the child cannot secure citizenship; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35963/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

All passports are issued in accordance with the provisions of the Passports Act, 2008, as amended ("The 2008 Act"). Under the 2008 Act, a passport cannot be issued to a person unless the Minister is satisfied as to the identity of the person and that the person is an Irish citizen.

Citizenship is governed by the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended ("The 1956 Act"), which is under the responsibility of the Minister for Justice and Equality. Legislative measures relating to citizenship do not fall within the remit of my Department. I will therefore confine my answer to an explanation of the current citizenship legislation under which the Passport Service, which operates under my Department, is subject to.

Section 7 of the 1956 Act addresses citizenship by descent and provides that a person is an Irish citizen from birth if at the time of his or her birth either parent was an Irish citizen. An additional requirement of registration is imposed in respect of children born outside the island of Ireland where the Irish citizen parent was also born outside the island of Ireland.

For the purposes of the 1956 Act, a parent is understood to mean either the "mother" or "father" of the child. For the purpose of Irish law, the mother of a child is the person who gives birth to the child or a female adopter of a child. In general, the "father" is the person identified as the genetic father of the child or a male adopter.

Under the current legislation, where the Irish citizen is neither the birth mother nor the genetic father or neither the male nor female adopter of the child, the child does not qualify for Irish citizenship by descent.

The issue of citizenship of children born to same-sex parents is currently being considered across Government.