Under new legislation in Ireland, the father’s name will now have to appear on every child’s birth certificate – the senate passed the bill in September, and the legislation is to be enacted by the end of this year.
This new modernization in civil registration, titled the Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2014, is intended to prevent marriages of convenience, record deaths of Irish people who die abroad, validate marriages carried out by people in their country’s embassy in Ireland, and provide Irish children with the right to their identities, the Irish Examiner reported.
“This is the first time this principle has been brought into legislation,” said minister of state at the department of social protection Kevin Humphreys. “This will underpin the rights of the child under EU legislation to have access to the details of his or her identity.”
“Put simply, that means knowing who their parents are,” Humphreys continued. “It will be a step toward ensuring full and accurate particulars are registered at the time of birth which will be of significant benefit both to the child and future generations.” He added that the other provisions of the bill would also put in place a strong system for the recording of significant life events like births, deaths, civil partnerships and marriages.
However, during the committee stage of the passing the bill, Irish children’s rights activist and senate member Jillian van Turnhout called attention to the fact that those who were adopted continue to be denied such identity rights.
Under Ireland’s Adoption Act of 2010, adoption certificates, which are used as birth certificates for adopted people, no longer have to reveal that the person was adopted. According to the Adoption Rights Alliance, before 2010 it was often the only way people found out they were adopted.
After the Civil Registration Bill was passed, Van Turnhout requested the addition of an amendment to the Adoption Act that ensures adoption certificates must refer to the fact that the child was adopted, in order to equalize identity rights for all Irish children.
“The registers of life events are very important public records,” Kevin Humphreys said. “They have a significant impact on the lives of Ireland’s citizens. It is vital that they are robust and accurate. My intention is that the civil registration service will continue to serve society and the public to a high standard and will be equipped to respond to our rapidly changing society.”
One of the bill’s provisions mentions that “in some exceptional circumstances where it may not be feasible to do this,” however, the father’s name does not have to appear.