Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys has announced a series of significant reforms to the system in which births and deaths are registered.

The Civil Registration (Electronic Registration) Bill 2023 will enable families to register births and deaths online for the first time. Since the current civil registration system was introduced in 1864, families have been required to obtain a notification form and provide it to an official registrar in person.

The changes being introduced by Minister Humphreys will give people greater flexibility when it comes to registering major life events. Under the changes, families will be able to register a death where a coroner’s inquest has not yet been concluded, and the time in which a death must be registered will also be cut from the current three-month timeframe to 28 days.

Campaigners have been calling for changes to the system of registering stillbirths to support families who have experienced the loss of a child during pregnancy, while still safeguarding the privacy of families. The Register of Stillbirths will now be expanded to other relatives of the stillborn child where currently only the parents may search the register and obtain a certificate.

Commenting on the Bill, Minister Humphreys said, “I am pleased to have secured Cabinet approval for the Civil Registration (Electronic Registration) Bill 2023.

“This Bill looks to modernise the Civil Registration Service where the current requirement to attend in person has gone unchanged since the introduction of civil registration in Ireland in 1864. This new customer service channel will give greater flexibility to parents and relatives seeking to register life events.

“Following a recent public consultation process, this Bill will also allow for a new process for registering deaths and for reducing the timeframe in which a death must be registered. This will bring Ireland in line with death registration practices in other countries and will ensure that deaths are notified and registered at the earliest opportunity.”

Minister Humphreys concluded, “Parents and advocacy groups have lobbied for the changes to the stillbirth criteria and for broadening access to the Register of Stillbirths and I am very happy to support them by bringing forward the necessary legislation.”

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