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Children and Family Relationships (Amendment) Bill 2018

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Children and Family Relationships (Amendment) Bill 2018\Second Stage
Bills\Children and Family Relationships (Amendment) Bill 2018\Second Stage

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Children and Family Relationships (Amendment) Bill 2018

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Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly

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Stephen S. Donnelly

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Snippet Contents:

The 2015 Act was one of the most important reforms in child and family law since the Adoption Act in 2010. Critically, it made the best interests of the child the central consideration in Irish family law where decisions regarding the child were being made. It addressed issues of guardianship, custody, access, maintenance, adoption, parentage and some elements of assisted human reproduction. It was an important step forward in recognising the evolving nature of families in Ireland. It received cross-party support and I hope that support will continue this evening. The Minister should note that Fianna Fáil will support this technical amending Bill.
The briefing we have received is that everything before the House is purely technical. That is set out in the explanatory memorandum. We are told the Bill does not change any of the substance of the Act. Therefore, I do not intend opening up the Act again this evening. It was debated at length and went through with cross-party support. However, that position is clearly on an understanding that this legislation is as we have been told, that is to say, purely technical and purely to correct a typographical error. I call on the Minister to confirm that for me at the end of Second Stage.
Parts 2 and 3 of the Act, which this Bill will commence, deal with the procedures for parentage in the case of donor-assisted human reproduction. Fianna Fáil supports the commencement of these provisions. The changes proposed will provide for much needed clarity for parents of donor-conceived children. It will ensure clear understanding about the rights, responsibilities and consent in donor-assisted reproduction. It will ensure a child's right to know his or her genetic identity, as enshrined by the United Nations.
Commencement of these provisions will be particularly welcome for same-sex couples. It will provide clarity on important issues of guardianship, custody, access, maintenance, adoption and parentage. It will allow them to legally declare parentage of a child and allow couples to seek a retrospective declaration of parentage. We have heard from the Minister on this. It will allow parents to have their names on the birth certificates of their children, which is highly significant on a legal level as well as on an emotional and human level.
The Bill does not deal with many of the outstanding errors relating to assisted human reproduction. We look forward to discussing these on Committee Stage. We have done the pre-legislative scrutiny and we look forward to engaging with the Minister and his team in the coming months in this work.