Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 19 May 2022
Joint Oireachtas Committee on International Surrogacy
Preventing the Sale, Exploitation and Trafficking of Children: Discussion
I feel I have been gazumped because I was just about to talk about the short- and long-form birth certificate. I have asked my personal assistant to look up why we stopped using short form. It was stated everywhere that a long-form certificate must be submitted, so the short-form certificates kind of became defunct. There are many situations where a private long-form birth certificate with all the information, whether it relates to the donor, surrogacy, adoption or all that stuff, should be there from the start to facilitate those conversations from the beginning, in addition to the short form.
Fostering is the other matter that comes to me, where a child is in foster care, is going to school and the birth certificate has to be presented. The school should know about the situation, and that is pertinent to other things, but one form of the birth certificate is a private document and one is a public document. The question is why we stopped using short-form birth certificates. What were the deficiencies and how do we correct them? We will then automatically create the two parts and will not need to create extra registers all over the place. We can talk about the grim spectre of cyberattacks and that sort of thing. It would be very useful for us to look at, possibly through submissions, the long-form and short-form versions and talk to those in social welfare to ask why the hell they stopped using short form. It could be a very useful thing.
I apologise for being late. I missed a very interesting earlier session but I was listening in the car. I will pick up on Deputy Funchion's question in the last session about the best interests test and, if such a test is required, it has to be done after birth, whereas it could be argued legal certainty is also in the best interests of the child. That need requires some process pre-birth. I will leave it there. There are dangers to thinking out loud in public session so instead of coming out with a half-formed thought that may turn out to be best left half-formed, I will save it for private session.