Cabinet approves missing persons Bill to help families 'left in limbo'

The Government is to make changes to help families who are left in "limbo" when a relative goes missing.

Cabinet approves missing persons Bill to help families 'left in limbo'

The Government is to make changes to help families who are left in "limbo" when a relative goes missing.

The Cabinet has approved a missing persons Bill which is designed to assist the families of missing persons in dealing with the management of their estate.

Currently, a death certificate cannot be issued for a missing person, life insurance policies cannot be processed and no decisions can be made in respect of the assets of the person’s estate.

The changes would allow for a presumption of death order where the circumstances of the disappearance indicate that death is virtually certain or where the length of the disappearance indicate that it is highly probable that the missing person has died and will not return.

Senator Colm Burke, who first published the Civil Law (Presumption of Death) Bill 2016 along with Senators Marie-Louise O'Donnell and Lynn Ruane, welcomed the Cabinet's approval of a money message to allow the legislation proceed.

“As the law presently stands, in cases where a person remains missing, and it is clear from all evidence available that they have died, there is no legal procedure available to allow for their estate to be managed," he said.

Their families and friends are left in limbo, unable to take any action in respect of the person’s affairs.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan also brought the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) annual report to Cabinet which revealed that 24 protected disclosures were made in 2018.

GSOC opened 1,921 complaints and a total of 74 sanctions were applied by the Garda Commissioner in 2018 on foot of disciplinary investigations.

Those sanctions ranged from advice to reduction in pay. GSOC sent 17 files to the DPP following criminal investigations last year.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will travel to Paris tomorrow where he will join international leaders to launch an initiative to tackle terrorist and violent extremist content online.

This initiative, led by Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern and French president, Emanuel Macron, comes in the wake of the terrorist attack in Christchurch New Zealand in March, in which 51 people lost their lives and dozens more were injured.

The Christchurch Call to Action initiative will commit Governments and online service providers to undertake a series of actions to counter and remove terrorist and violent extremist content online.

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