Plans to create register of Irish people who die overseas
Currently only deaths that occur within the State can be registered here
A memo on the Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2013 brought to Cabinet by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has been approved. Photograph: Frank Miller
The deaths of Irish people abroad will be registered in Ireland for the first time under planned legislation discussed at the last Cabinet meeting before the summer recess.
Currently only deaths that occur within the State can be registered here, except in cases where the deceased were members of An Garda Síochána or the Permanent Defence Force or the death took place on a ship or aircraft. The proposed domestic register will apply to citizens who were on holiday, temporary work contracts or short-term absences for business purposes when they died.
A memo on the Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2013 brought to Cabinet by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has been approved, meaning a law to amend the 2004 legislation can be drafted.
There is no legal requirement to register such deaths here at present, as death certificates issued by the civil authorities in the relevant country are normally sufficient for administrative purposes. The new register will not be mandatory.
However, families of people who have died abroad have been campaigning for a domestic register of deaths to be established and are expected to welcome the proposed change.
The proposed amendment would mean the establishment of a register separate from the regular register of deaths which would be created and maintained by the General Register Office.
A qualified informant, normally a relative of the deceased,who wished to register a death on the new register would have to produce the original death certificate or a certified copy. Evidence the deceased was an Irish citizen ordinarily resident in the State within two years of their death would also be required.
There would be no retrospective cut off point for inclusion on the register and including a cause of death would not be a requirement. The Bill will also ensure that the inclusion of fathers’ names on birth certificates will become compulsory for the first time, while civil registrars will get also new powers to prevent so-called “sham” marriages.