Inclusion of fathers’ names on birth certs to become compulsory

Registrars will also get new powers to halt “sham” marriages

The inclusion of fathers’ names on birth certificates will become compulsory for the first time under planned new legislation discussed at Cabinet today. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

The inclusion of fathers’ names on birth certificates will become compulsory for the first time under planned new legislation discussed at Cabinet today. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

 

The inclusion of fathers’ names on birth certificates will become compulsory for the first time under planned new legislation discussed at Cabinet today.

Civil registrars will get also new powers to prevent so-called “sham” marriages.

A memo on the Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2013 brought to Cabinet by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton was approved, meaning a law to amend the 2004 legislation can be drafted.

In cases where the parents of a baby are not married to each other, the current position on fathers’ names on birth certificates is that a father is not required to give information on the registration of a birth. A mother is not required to supply the father’s details.

The amendment would make the provision of such information compulsory other than in exceptional circumstances.

The Law Reform Commission has previously recommended the compulsory joint registration of the birth of a child where the parents are not married.

The Commission argued that automatic joint registration would reinforce the right of a child to know their parents.

Meanwhile, the Bill aims to make marriages of convenience much more difficult to contract in the future. Such marriages tend to be entered into for the purpose of one of the parties gaining an automatic right of residency based on marriage to a person who already has a right of residency.

Under current legislation, it is not possible to prevent a marriage taking place, even where it is suspected to be a marriage of convenience.

The planned legislation would give registrars the right to investigate a suspected “sham” marriage of convenience. The registrar can refuse to issue a marriage registration form, which would effectively block the marriage from going ahead, and can notify the immigration authorities.

The recently-published Annual Report of the Registrar General for 2012 said a legislative solution was required to enable the State to take steps to prevent such marriages from taking place.