Thursday, 21 November 2019

Ceisteanna (106)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh


106. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will address a matter regarding citizenship in a case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48377/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

While I am not in a position to provide information in relation to individual cases or applications, I can inform the Deputy that applications for Citizenship are governed by the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended, and for the purposes of the 1956 Act, a parent is understood to mean either the mother or father of the child. For the purposes of Irish law, the mother of a child is the person who gives birth to the child or a female adopter of the child. In general, the father is the person identified as the genetic father of the child or a male adopter.

Section 7, of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended 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. However, an additional requirement of registration is imposed in respect of children born outside the State of Ireland where the Irish citizen parent was also born outside the island of Ireland.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and specifically the passport service, is tasked with processing passport applications in line with the requirements of the Passports Act 2008. The Passport Act 2008, sets out the legislative framework within which the passport service processes all applications for passports. Pursuant to section 7 of the Passport Act 2008, a passport cannot be issued unless the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade is satisfied the person is an Irish citizen and is also satisfied as to the identity of the person.

Therefore, under the current Irish law, Section 7, of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 does not apply, where the Irish citizen is neither the birth mother nor the genetic father or neither the male nor female adopter of the child. Consequently, the child does not qualify for Irish citizenship by descent and therefore does not qualify for the granting of an Irish passport.

I am informed that Parts 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, which provide for parentage of children born through donor-assisted human reproduction, will come into operation on 4 May 2020, as provided for by the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 (Parts 2 and 3) (Commencement) Order 2019 (S.I. No. 541 of 2019) recently made by the Minister for Health.

Where a child is born in the State through donor-assisted human reproduction prior to the commencement of Parts 2 and 3 of the Act, depending on the particular circumstances, it may be possible after Parts 2 and 3 come into operation for a couple to seek a declaration under section 21 of the Act that the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the birth mother is the other parent of the child (with all of the parental responsibilities that entails), and ultimately to have a new birth certificate issued reflecting that legal parentage.  However, it is important to note that Parts 2 and 3 of the Act will only apply to children born in the State.

In light of the evolving situation relating to recognition of domestic births, and noting the very complex legal matters involved, I have asked my officials to consult with colleagues in other relevant Departments with the view to seeking an appropriate solution in relation to births that take place abroad.