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Ó Snodaigh welcomes withdrawal of Government appeal in Lydia Foy case

21 June, 2010 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has welcomed the news that the Government has withdrawn its appeal in the Lydia Foy case. Ms Foy, a transgendered woman, won a High Court decision in 2008 that the state’s refusal to issue a new birth certificate acknowledging her as female was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, “From the time of the European Court of Human Rights decision in the Goodwin v UK case in 2002 it was clear that Lydia Foy had a right to a new birth certificate. It is shameful that the state has taken this long to acknowledge it, particularly given the High Court decision in 2008 which only affirmed the obvious.

“While I welcome the announcement today that the state will not appeal this decision, I remain greatly concerned about the government’s delay in bringing forward a Gender Recognition Bill. This was promised in the Renewed Programme for Government but has not yet appeared on any legislative programme. In a reply to a Parliamentary Question I tabled on the 5th of May, the Minister for Social Protection Éamon Ó Cuív indicated that preparatory work on the bill was only getting underway and no timeframe could be estimated.

“Transgendered people are particularly vulnerable at times of economic downturn. It is difficult for anyone to lose their job and have to seek new employment or jobless benefits. It is even more difficult when you are forced to explain to potential new employers, or to social welfare officers, discrepancies between your name and gender and those on your official documents. At best, this causes needless distress and may also lead to outright discrimination.

“Comprehensive legislation is needed to protect the rights of transgendered people to official recognition of their identity. I again urge Minister Ó Cuív to bring forward this legislation without undue delay.” ENDS

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