An amendment to the 2004 Civil Registration Act will give registrars more power to stop suspect marriages for the purposes of achieving residency.
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton says this type of scenario has been in Ireland for quite some time, generally involving the union between someone from another EU country with a person of non EU origin.
“The marriage is not a genuine marriage – it is a marriage for the purposes of acquiring marital status, acquiring residency rights. It is entered into solely for that purpose,” she said
Ms Burton said the proposed legislation will strengthen the law to ensure that where the registrar has reason to suspect that a sham marriage is about to take place, they can ask questions or advise the gardai.
The fact that the marriage can be shown to be a sham can be an impediment to the marriage going ahead, said Minister Burton.
Suspicions may arise if the couple “spoke different languages or if they gave an address that was given in a previous suspect marriage case, or if they seemed not to know each other”, said the minister.
She added that a number of embassies in Ireland have drawn attention to this problem, which could actually be a dangerous situation for those involved.
“There’s a fear that in many of these cases, large amounts of money changes hands.
“In this instance, the women concerned may be interested solely for the money purposes, and may come under some duress in doing that.”
This Bill will also make it compulsory for the father’s name to be put on the birth certificate of his child.
Unlike almost every other country in Europe, MsBurton said that Ireland does not currently require the father’s name on the birth certificate
“In terms of the rights of the child, it is important to amend our law to provide for the father’s name on the birth cert.
“There are currently a lot births to people who are not married; fathers are anxious and are being advised to put their names on the birth cert of the child,” she said.