Seanad debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Mary Seery KearneyMary Seery Kearney (Fine Gael)

In March 2000, the then Minister for Health and now Taoiseach, Deputy Micheál Martin, launched the commission on assisted human reproduction, which reported. In 2009, we had a decision in the Supreme Court regarding assisted human reproduction with regard to surrogacy. In 2012, the then Minister, Alan Shatter, produced guidelines for international surrogacy. In 2015, we had the publication of the Child and Family Relationships Act and all the hoo-ha that led up to it, which resulted in surrogacy having to be severed from the Bill to be brought forward later. In 2017, the assisted human reproduction Bill went through the heads of Bill and pre-legislative scrutiny. The report on it came forward in July 2019.That resulted in the commissioning of a report from the special rapporteur, Conor O'Mahony, regarding the rights of the child in cases of surrogacy, in particular international surrogacy. That report was published in March of this year. It has resulted in three Departments coming together and Ministers meeting on several occasions. Ministers from all three Government parties have shown a will to ensure that children have equality in the relationship with their mothers in this State.

I was very disappointed to hear that there might be a delay in the publication of this memo. Somewhere in all of this there is reluctance to move forward. There are children in the State who are exceeding 18 years of age and who will never have the right to a legal relationship with their mothers. Right now, there are children who do not have a legal relationship with their mothers. Right now, there are children whose parents have not resolved the matter of guardianship and who are relying on a will giving testamentary guardianship to the mother of that child.

There can be no more delays and we need political well. It has been 21 years since the then Minister, and now Taoiseach, commissioned a report into assisted human reproduction. It is time this was published and it is outrageous that there would be any further delays. We have three parties and three Ministers on board. We have political will and it needs to happen. I ask the Leader to write to the Taoiseach asking for this as a matter of urgency.


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