Irish who die abroad refused death registration

A local Fine Gael senator wants the legislation dealing with registering the deaths of Irish people abroad to be amended so that Irish citizens who die overseas can have their deaths registered at home.

Oranmore senator Fidelma Healy Eames says there is a pressing need for the current system to be changed.

“I am calling on the Minister for Social Protection to amend the Civil Registration Act 2004 so that the families of Irish citizens who die abroad can have their deaths recorded at home. As it stands the death of an Irish citizen who dies abroad is only recorded and registered in the Republic if he or she was on an Irish aircraft or ship, a foreign ship or aircraft that was in transit, or a serving member of the Garda Síochána or the Defence Forces.

“This means that for the majority of Irish citizens who die abroad their deaths will never be recorded or registered in their home country. In 2009, 244 Irish citizens, whose deaths were not recorded in this country, died abroad. This issue has been brought to the fore as a result of a Facebook campaign, ‘Help Bring Them Home’ which has been initiated by the parents of two such young men - Keith O’Reilly from Merlin Park and Brian Forde from Athenry, which has so far been signed by almost 2,000 signatories.”

The fact that a death is not registered at home makes life more difficult for grieving family members, she says.

“It also means that tracking one’s ancestors could be made more difficult for future generations as they attempt to search through Irish documentation. The two young men to whom I refer were both on holiday in the United States at the time of their deaths and as a result of this legislative oversight have been denied the right, in death, to be recognised by their country.

“I am calling for this issue to be examined in close detail. We must look at the cases where one might not see fit to register an Irish citizen’s death abroad, perhaps if he or she had gained citizenship in another country. One must live in the United States, for example, for five years before qualifying for citizenship, however, where a young person has been on holiday or is working abroad temporarily, the Government should see fit to register his or her death at home.”

She says this issue is due to be brought before the Joint Committee on Social Protection at the end of this month.

“I am calling on Minister Ó’Ciuv to look carefully at it and to consider amending the legislation for the sake of our citizens who lose their lives abroad as well as their grieving families who are left behind.”


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