Fine Gael’s Galway West Deputy Seán Kyne has expressed concerns at the delay in amending the Civil Registration Act to allow for the registration of the deaths of Irish people who die abroad. In May and June of 2010, the Galway-based Bring Them Home campaign group met with the then Minister for Social Protection, Éamon Ó Cuiv, who committed to a review so the legislation could be changed.
However, the statutory office tasked with carrying out the review, the General Registrar, is still in the process of undertaking it. The Minister of State for Justice and Equality, Kathleen Lynch, who spoke on behalf of Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, confirmed that the review will not be completed until later this year.
Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday, Deputy Kyne outlined his concerns over the delay in the review’s completion which is preventing TDs from amending the legislation.
“I understand and acknowledge that reviews can, with the procedures to be followed, be complex and time-consuming. And no more so when amendments to legislation are involved. However, I am strongly of the opinion that this review is long overdue.
“At present we are unable to amend the legislation which stipulates that the death of an Irish citizen abroad may only be recorded and registered in Ireland if that death occurred on an Irish ship or aircraft, on a foreign ship while it was in transit or if the deceased person had been a member of An Garda Síochána or the Irish Defence Forces.
“It is clear from the ‘Bring Them Home Campaign’ that this issue is one of great importance for thousands of people across the country. The review of the Civil Registration Act must be concluded as soon as possible and it must bring about a change in the legislation to allow for the registration of the deaths of Irish people abroad.”
Minister Lynch agreed with Deputy Kyne, who suggested that Ireland examines the legislation as it stands in our nearest neighbour, Britain, where it is possible for the family of a deceased British citizen to obtain a UK death certificate, irrespective of the place of death.
“The amendment,” Deputy Kyne continued, “would be a minor change. But it will make a major difference to the family and friends of Irish people who have died tragically abroad.”