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Minister must address issue of Irish citizens from north having to send birth certificates to Britain before they can marry – O’Brien

28 November, 2011 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD


Sinn Féin justice spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien TD today called on Minister for Justice and Equality Alan Shatter to urgently change the legal requirements that force Irish citizens born in the north to send their birth certificates to the British Legalisation Office before they can marry in the 26 counties.

The Cork North Central TD said;

“A number of people have been in touch with my office who are extremely annoyed and disappointed that despite the fact they are Irish citizens, they are compelled to send their birth certificates to the British Legalisation Office in Milton Keynes to receive an apostille stamp before they can marry in the 26 counties.
“This requirement effectively means that Irish citizens born in the north cannot marry until they receive permission from the British state. Not only is it a massive inconvenience for these citizens, it completely flies in the face of the Good Friday Agreement.

“Under the current legal arrangement, an Irish citizen born anywhere in the six counties must comply with this rule if they wish to marry in the 26 counties, however this rule does not apply to persons born in Latvia, Denmark, Italy, France, Belgium, Tunisia or Brazil. It is an issue of fairness as well as fundamental rights. If the government can make arrangements for those born outside of Ireland who wish to marry, they can make the same arrangements for those born ninety miles up the road.

“Official documentation such as birth certificates, produced in the six counties, which are routinely used for identification purposes, should be acceptable for verification purposes to all Irish state bodies. I will continue to raise this matter with the Minister so that all Irish citizens are treated equally regardless of where they were born on the island.”

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