Friday, 6 September 2019

Ceisteanna (562, 640)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

562. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 with the exception of Parts 2 and 3 of the Act will be fully commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34986/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

640. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when all sections of the Family Relationships Act 2015 with the exception of Parts 2 and 3 of the Act will be commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36068/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 562 and 640 together.

Many of the provisions of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 were commenced in January 2016. Parts 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12 and 13 of the Act were brought into operation at that time. 

In July 2017, part of section 47(c) of the Act was commenced and in November of that year, the provisions of the Act relating to adoption by civil partners and cohabiting couples were commenced.  

Section 177 of the Act has not been commenced  The purpose of the section was to amend the Adoptive Leave Act 1995 to provide access to adoptive leave and benefit to the “qualified adopter”, that is the member of a civil partnership or cohabiting same-sex couple chosen as such by the partners or couple.  Following the adoption of the 34th Amendment to the Constitution and the subsequent related legislative changes, this is no longer adequate as it does not cover the situation of same-sex married couples.  I intend to bring forward a provision on this for inclusion in a suitable Bill as soon as an opportunity arises. 

Part 9 of the 2015 Act provides for a number of amendments to the Civil Registration Act 2004, all of which have yet to be commenced. Most of these amendments are for the purpose of enabling the registration of the birth of a child born as a result of a Donor-Assisted Human Reproduction (DAHR) procedure, as defined under Parts 2 and 3 of the 2015 Act. Part 9 amends the 2004 Act to include a definition of “parent” in relation to a child born as a result of a DAHR procedure to which Parts 2 and 3 apply. The Civil Registration Act 2019, which was signed into law on 23 May 2019, provides for amendments to the Civil Registration Act 2004, including some amendments to address technical issues regarding the wording of some sections of Part 9 of the 2015 Act.

No provision of Part 9 of the 2015 Act has yet been commenced.  Section 1(7) of the 2015 Act, as amended by section 12 of the Civil Registration Act 2019, provides that Part 9 shall come into operation 54 months from enactment or on such earlier day or days as the Minister for Justice and Equality may, after consulting with the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, appoint by order.  Different days may be appointed for the commencement of different provisions of Part 9.  The provisions of Part 9 of the 2015 Act relating to the registration of the birth of donor-conceived children are so closely interlinked with and dependent on Parts 2 and 3 that those provisions of Part 9 cannot be operated until Parts 2 and 3 are brought into operation by my colleague, the Minister for Health. 

Part 10 of the Act, which amended the Passports Act 2008, was commenced by my colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in July 2015.  

Part 11 of the Act, which relates to adoption, was not commenced and was repealed by section 2(2) of the Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017, which came into operation on in October 2017.