Birth certificates will have to carry the father’s name by law, Social Protection Minister Joan Burton has told the Dáil.
The move is aimed at making it easier for the State to pursue parents who avoid providing for their child.
Ms Burton said she was acting in accordance with a Law Reform Commission which recommended “compulsory joint registration of the birth of a child where the parents are not married to each other”.
Ms Burton said she hoped to bring the change in later this year after the law reform report of 2010 said that unmarried fathers should have automatic joint parental responsibility or guardianship.
The move was welcomed by Fine Gael TD Olivia Mitchell, whose parliamentary question prompted the announcement.
“I really believe that this reform will benefit mothers, fathers and, most importantly, children.
“A child is entitled to as much information as possible about his/her parents and that has to be the main consideration.
“Until now, it has been feared by mothers that declaring the father’s name would have implications for their social welfare payments. In other countries, where disclosure is mandatory, it is only refusal to name the father that has social welfare implications.
“The exception to this of course is where that information is not known by the mother or where it would not be in the child’s interest or would pose a danger to the mother to disclose such information.
“Compulsory joint registration of birth does, of course, facilitate requiring a father to take responsibility for the maintenance of the child and related rights in respect of guardianship.
“However, the issue of responsibility and guardianship is something that can and should be considered separately from the registration of the father’s name,” Ms Mitchell said.
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