Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Ceisteanna (310)

Seán Ryan

Ceist:

339 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason for the delay in signing commencement orders for civil marriages in venues of choice; and when the necessary orders will be signed. [12816/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Health and Children)

An tArd Chlaraitheoir (Registrar General) is the person with statutory responsibility for the administration of the civil registration system in Ireland, including civil marriages. I have made inquiries with an tArd Chlaraitheoir and the position is as follows. The Civil Registration Act 2004 provides for the commencement of the various provisions of the Act on a gradual basis. Parts 1, 2, 3, 5 and 8 of the Act, which relate to the administration of the service and the registration of births, stillbirths and deaths, were commenced on 5 December 2005.

The new provisions for marriage are set out in Part 6 of the 2004 Act and include universal procedures for notification, solemnisation and registration of marriages, as well as a choice of venue for civil marriage ceremonies, provided for under section 52 of the Act. Before the provisions can be commenced by statutory instrument, a substantial body of work needs to be completed, including drafting and publication of regulations, guidelines and detailed procedures; establishment of a register of solemnisers in consultation with religious bodies; and the further development of the computer system to facilitate the administration of the new marriage provisions introduced in the Act. Work in all these areas is underway and is progressing well.

In view of the number of complex tasks involved in preparing for the commencement of the marriage provisions, it is not possible to be definitive as regards a date for signing commencement orders. However, an tArd Chlaraitheoir is aiming to have this work completed by July 2007. It is intended to give as much public notice as possible and a comprehensive public information campaign will be undertaken at the appropriate time.