Up to 4,000 new babies’ to be registered electronically for first time

Covid-19 has delayed registration of births due to social distancing restrictions

As a result of Covid-19 restrictions, the Department of Social Protection estimates that there may be up to 4,000 births not yet registered. Photograph: iStock

As a result of Covid-19 restrictions, the Department of Social Protection estimates that there may be up to 4,000 births not yet registered. Photograph: iStock

 

Arrangements have been put in place for the electronic registration of up to 4,000 new-born babies as a solution to challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Changes have been introduced allowing babies to be registered online for the first time since records began in 1864. Up until now parents have had to visit the local registration office with their new baby.

Aaron Rafferty from Malahide, County Dublin, is the first baby to have his birth registered electronically with the General Register Office by his parents Nuala and Paul.

As a result of Covid-19 restrictions, the Department of Social Protection estimates that there may be up to 4,000 births not yet registered. And Child Benefit payments do not commence until after a birth is registered.

The new arrangements put in place by the General Register Office have taken into account the HSE and WHO guidelines on social distancing, the Department of Social Protection said.

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said many parents have “consciously decided not to register the birth of their new arrival to their families during the pandemic because of the social distancing requirements”.

“That is why my department has worked to put an alternative channel into place so that all families can register their new-borns easily and avail of their child benefit entitlements,” she said, urging all parents of new babies to consider using the new arrangements.

Registrar General, TJ Fleming, said the social distancing requirements currently in place as a result of the pandemic “highlight the usefulness of the electronic registration process”.

The process will be kept under review to ensure it is as “simple and straightforward as possible”, he said.