Marriage Act 2015: Questions and Answers

Marriage Act 2015

Questions and Answers

When can the first marriage of a same-sex couple take place?
The commencement order sets 16 November as the date on which the Marriage Act 2015 comes into effect.  A marriage can take place between two persons of the same sex from that date onwards.

I am in a civil partnership and wish to marry.  What do I have to do?
A civilly partnered couple who wish to marry should contact the registrar who will guide them through the process.  If the couple registered their civil partnership in Ireland, they will not have to give three months’ notice.  If the couple registered their civil partnership outside Ireland, they will have to give the same notice period of three months as all other couples wishing to marry.

We have notified the registrar of our intention to enter a civil partnership.  We wish to change this into a notification of our intention to marry.  How should we go about this?
The registrar is contacting couples who have already given notice of their intention to enter a civil partnership to inform them that they can convert this into a notification of their intention to marry.  If the registrar has not already been in contact, such couples should contact the registrar to confirm that they wish to marry.  The registrar will then guide them through the process.  They can use the date originally planned for their civil partnership for their marriage instead.

We have notified the registrar of our intention to enter a civil partnership.  We wish to go ahead with our civil partnership.  Will we be able to do so?
Yes.  Couples who have already notified the registrar before 16 November of their intention to enter a civil partnership will be able to go ahead and register a civil partnership, provided they complete the civil partnership registration form before the end of this week. They may then proceed to enter a civil partnership within the six-month period of validity of the form.

Will it be possible for couples to notify their intention to enter civil partnership after 16 November?
No.  Civil partnership will be closed to new entrants.  Couples will have to have completed their civil partnership registration form before 16 November.

Will marriages contracted in other jurisdictions be recognised automatically?  Do I have to do anything?
If a marriage was contracted lawfully between two persons in another jurisdiction, that marriage will be recognised automatically in Ireland as of 16 November.  The couple do not need to take any further action.

I am in a civil partnership and wish to remain as a civil partner.  Can I do so?
Yes.  There is no obligation on any civilly partnered couple to marry.  They can continue as civil partners.  Their rights and obligations will not be affected by the Marriage Act 2015.

Will churches be forced to perform marriages between same-sex couples?
No.  The Marriage Act 2015 explicitly states that neither it nor any other enactment will compel a religious body to recognise a particular form of marriage ceremony.  The religious body will have the choice itself on whether to marry same-sex couples or not to marry them.  

What sort of vows can be made by a same-sex couple?
Any couple marrying in a civil ceremony will be able to take one another as husband, wife or spouse, as the case may be.  Religious bodies will be able to retain their existing declarations whereby a man and a woman take each other as husband and wife.  They will also be free to adopt the new declarations if they wish.

Will any impediments remain in place?
The same impediments will operate for same-sex couples as for opposite-sex couples but modified to take account of the sex of the parties.  A couple cannot marry if within certain prohibited degree of relationship.  These relate to relationships of consanguinity where a couple are related by blood such as an uncle and a niece or nephew.  They also relate to relationships of affinity, where a couple are related by marriage.  A step-father cannot marry a step-child, for instance.

What is the situation concerning civil partners who entered a registered partnership abroad (i.e. a relationship prescribed under a section 5 order as equivalent to civil partnership)?
A same-sex couple who enter a registered partnership by 15 May  2016 in another jurisdiction will be recognised as civil partners in Ireland.  A partnership registered from 16 May 2016 onwards will not be recognised as a civil partnership in Ireland.

Posted under Justice & Equality, National Work, Politics, Social Protection

Parliamentary Question: Freedom of Information Bill

Question to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform ( Mr. Brendan Howlin, TD)

To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason behind replacing sections 15 and 16 of Freedom of Information Act as amended with a single section in the Freedom of Information Bill 2013, section 8; the expected benefits of making this change; and if he will make a statement on the matter – Jerry Buttimer
For WRITTEN response on Wednesday, 18th December, 2013


Section 8 of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill 2013 replaces Sections 15 and 16 of the existing 1997 Act and provides instead that each public body will publish a publication scheme instead of the Section 15 and 16 manuals. Given technological and ICT developments in the 15 years since FOI was first introduced, the migration of such information to websites and international best practice, these manuals are not considered an effective way of promoting the proactive publication of information into the public domain.

Guidance on the publication schemes will be provided under the Code of Practice on the implementation of the Act which I intend to bring to Government shortly. It is my intention that the publication schemes will provide for the publication of extensive information on the nature, role, responsibilities and activities of public bodies including the structure, classes of records held, rules relating to any schemes implemented, services provided and so on. This is intended to facilitate much more proactive publication of information by public bodies thus making official information more accessible outside of FOI on a routine basis. Greater publication of official data and information is also consistent with the Government’s commitment to participate in the multilateral Open Government Partnership. In that regard, the Deputy will recall my announcement of a major open data initiative at the Open Government Partnership summit in London last month.

The Deputy’s attention is also drawn to the fact that Section 8 of the new Bill provides that the information contained in the publication scheme will be reviewed at least on an annual basis and that, in the case of a person unable to access a website and who requests details of the nature of records held by a public body, details will be provided in written form.

Following a public consultation process on the draft Code, it is planned that the final Code of Practice, once approved by Government, will be introduced in tandem with the commencement of the reformed Freedom of Information legislation.

Posted under Justice & Equality, National Work, Parliamentary Questions, Politics, Public Expenditure & Reform

Buttimer calls for implementation of LRC recommendations

Fine Gael National Press Office
Press Statement by Jerry Buttimer TD
Cork South Central

Friday, 2nd November 2012

Fine Gael Cork South Central Deputy and Chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, Jerry Buttimer, has said Labour Relations Commission (LRC) recommendations on reform of consultant work practices must now be implemented. Deputy Buttimer was speaking following release by the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) of survey results showing that 57% of respondents support the LRC recommendations.

“The results of a survey of members by the IHCA show that a majority support the IHCA proposals. This support now needs to be actioned and the implementation of the Labour Relations Commission recommendations should proceed as soon as possible.

“The positive outcome from the survey places an obligation on the representative organisation to act on the views of the majority of respondents. The IHCA has confirmed that 57% of its members who responded to its survey favoured proposals recommended by the Labour Relations Commission. The IHCA should now engage in a process with the HSE and Department of Health to ensure that the reforms are implemented.

“When delivered, the proposals of the LRC have the potential to secure a saving of €220 million each year. The proposals will ensure senior doctors will be available any five out of seven days, including at weekends and nights. This will mean quicker decision making.  Clearly these proposals have the potential to deliver real reforms which will benefit patients while securing significant cost savings.  There is now an onus on all parties to put the proposals into effect as soon as possible.

“While progress has been slower than would have been hoped, the cooperation of all parties has already secured the delivery of some reform and savings.  I acknowledge the contribution of consultants in achieving an increase of 20% in productivity and in saving 70,000 bed days as has been set out by the IHCA. I understand that consultants have a number of practical concerns and I hope that the HSE can address any legitimate practical impediments so that the recommendations can be implemented.”


Posted under Blog, National Work, Politics

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