Government must act immediately on recommendations from Report reviewing Children’s Rights and Irish Law.

The publication today of the Report by Prof. Conor O’Mahony, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection on the rights of the child in relation to donor assisted human reproduction (DAHR) is strongly welcomed by LGBT Ireland. The recommendations contained within the report provide clear and practical legal solutions which uphold the rights and best interests of children including their right to family life and non-discrimination.  In doing so the report recognises the unequal position of many children in LGBTI+ Families, who are still unable to establish a legal parental relationship to both of their parents.

Acknowledging the Children and Family Relationships Act (CFRA) 2015 only provides for recognition of same sex female parents in limited circumstances, the report recommends the 2015 Act be amended to broaden who is covered by the law.  This includes a recommendation that provision be made for second parents of children born through non-clinical procedures, to be able to make an application for parentage through the District Court.  The report also recommends that retrospective declarations of parentage be provided for through a Court process where a known donor was used, provided the donor does not object.  These recommendations are vital to providing legal parental recognition for many more female same-sex parents not currently covered by the legislation.

The report also considers in detail the regulation of Surrogacy including what form of regulation is optimal from a children’s rights perspective.  In doing so Prof. O’Mahony notes that “Ireland’s failure to regulate surrogacy to date has had negative consequences for Irish families who have engaged in both domestic and international surrogacy arrangements” and calls for “an acceptance of the reality of surrogacy as an international phenomenon”.  LGBT Ireland CEO Paula Fagan supports this view “in light of this review, we are calling on the Government to take Professor O’Mahony’s advice and build on the learning from other jurisdictions by publishing AHR legislation that meets the highest international standards, protects all parties involved and makes provisions for both domestic and international surrogacy”.

Ms Fagan also called on the Government to include provisions in the forthcoming AHR Bill that allow for retrospective declarations of parentage in DAHR and Surrogacy cases, “we support many families who have spent years living in legal limbo, with only one parent recognised.  This can have far reaching consequences, especially when a child is ill or needs to establish citizenship but also in simple ways in everyday life, for example when giving school permission or signing a waiver for a sports activity, which can cause embarrassment, confusion and distress for the child and the parents”.

LGBT Ireland calls on the Government to ensure no time is wasted in implementing the recommendations from the O’Mahony Report and to also consider the recommendations by the Oireachtas Committee on Health submitted to the Department of Health in relation to the AHR Bill 2017.


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