Written answers

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Department of Social Protection

Register of Solemnisers

Photo of Paul ConnaughtonPaul Connaughton (Galway East, Fine Gael)
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414. To ask the Minister for Social Protection if a person who operates a wedding business can become registered as a civil registrar or solemniser of marriages under the secular heading; the criteria that would apply in such a case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46997/13]

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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The Civil Registration Act 2004, as amended by the Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2012, outlines the categories of bodies and organisations, including secular bodies,that may apply for registration of persons on the Register of Solemnisers.

Section 45A of the Act states that a secular body must be in existence for at least five years, be an organised group of people who have secular, ethical and humanist beliefs in common, have a minimum of 50 people and meet on a regular basis. The body must have an entitlement to an exemption under section 207 or 208 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997 and cannot have the making of profit as one of its main purposes.

In addition, there is a list of organisations which are deemed, for the purposes of the Bill, not to be secular bodies, including chambers of commerce, organisations that are political, sporting/athletic, trade union/representative in nature and bodies that promote purposes that are unlawful, are contrary to public policy or morality, in support of terrorism or terrorist activities or for the benefit of an organisation of which membership is unlawful.

Once a body or organisation has been approved by an tÁrd-Chláraitheoir to register persons on the Register of Solemnisers, it can nominate a person to solemnise marriages on its behalf. The body or organisation sign a certificate indicating that, in their opinion, the nominated person is a fit and proper person to solemnise a marriage and confirming that the nominee has been selected, trained and accredited by the secular body in accordance with their procedures.

A nominee can only be entered on the Register of Solemnisers following the approval of an tÁrd-Chláraitheoir.

Only employees of the Health Service Executive may be appointed as registrars.

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