Fine Gael TD for Kildare North, Anthony Lawlor, has today (Wednesday) welcomed confirmation from the Taoiseach that the Heads of Bill to review the Civil Registration Act 2004 was approved at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. The review will deal with the inability of families to register the deaths in Ireland of their loved ones who pass away overseas, an issue which has been passed to the Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection & Education to consider. As it currently stands an Irish citizen who dies abroad will generally only receive a death certificate from the country where they passed away.

“For the past couple of years, a number of Irish families who have sadly lost loved ones abroad have been campaigning to have this anomaly changed. Although it may be considered an administrative matter, for the parents and spouses who want to register the death in Ireland, it is far more than just paperwork. It can be very distressing for families to learn that the Irish State does not officially recognise the death and, from a genealogical point of view, this person simply disappears from all records.

“It is very important that this issue is dealt with because of the number of Irish people who travel abroad, either on holidays or to work for a short period of time. Between February and April this year, over 1.3 million trips were made overseas by Irish residents. It is particularly relevant due to the large number of young students who travel on J1 visas to the United States each summer or work permits to the Australia, of which 21,000 were issued in 2011 alone.

“Since 2010, campaigning families have met with an Oireachtas Committee and the previous Minister for Social Protection, Eamon O’Cuiv, but no progress was made. I am delighted that this sensitive issue is now being dealt with and I hope that common sense will prevail which will ease this unnecessary burden for grieving families.”