Compensation paid to Lydia Foy over gender recognition failures

Transgender woman receives around €50,000 from Government

The Government has paid transgender woman Lydia Foy about €50,000 in compensation for the State's failure to enact laws that recognise her acquired female gender.

In its first such declaration, the High Court concluded in 2007 that the State's failure to enact laws recognising Dr Foy's acquired gender was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. In such cases the Government can decide to make a payment to the individual who has suffered as a result of the incompatibility.

It is understood the compensation sum, suggested by an advisor appointed by Government to recommend an ex gratia payment to Dr Foy, was finalised in recent weeks following procedures set down in the European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003.

Dr Foy last week effectively settled separate proceedings against the State over her 21- year battle to secure a birth cert in her acquired gender. The settlement was reached on the basis of the High Court being told the Government intended to enact the necessary laws “as soon as possible” in 2015. Her barrister, Bill Shipsey SC, said he wanted the case taken out of the court’s “for hearing” list as “substantive agreement” had been reached and it was not expected the action would proceed.


Last March the court was told Dr Foy wanted the case to proceed given the State’s continuing failure to enact laws recognising her rights as a transgendered person despite the declaration seven years ago that failure breached the European convention.

Degrading treatment

In her action Dr Foy sought a birth certificate in her acquired

gender and damages for breach of her rights, personal injuries and humiliating and degrading treatment.

Dr Foy’s bid for a birth certificate in the female gender dates to March 1993 when she first wrote to the registrar general for that certificate. When that was refused she initiated court action culminating in a 2007 High Court finding that the State’s failure to legislate to recognise transgender persons in their preferred gender breached the convention.

In July 2013, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton published heads of a Gender Recognition Bill.

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic is an Assistant Editor of The Irish Times