Wednesday 13 December 2017

Russian man (74) asks High Court to set aside refusal to have birth registered in Ireland

Sergey Chesnokov (PIC: COURTPIX)
Sergey Chesnokov (PIC: COURTPIX)
Sergey Chesnokov (PIC: COURTPIX)

Tim Healy

A 74-year-old Russian man who claims he was born in Dublin has asked the High Court to set aside a refusal to have his Irish birth officially registered here.

Sergey Chesnokov claims he was born in a house at Dublin's Henrietta at 8am on September 28, 1940.

Sergey Chesnokov (PIC: COURTPIX)
Sergey Chesnokov (PIC: COURTPIX)

He is appealing a decision by An tArd Chlaraitheoir, (the Registrar General) who has charge of registering all births within the state not to register his Irish birth.

Mr Chesnokov, from Moscow, is seeking to have his birth registered as he wants to spend more time in Ireland, where his son and grandchildren reside.

His application to have his birth registered was declined because An tArd Chlaraitheoir found there was insufficient independent evidence to back up his claim he was born here, the court heard.

Mr Justice John Hedigan said as an avid fan of Russian literature, it appeared the matter before the court was like something "from a Russian novel".

The judge quoted an old Russian proverb "God is high above and the Tsar is far away" (meaning central power is remote from local concerns). 

The judge said this claim arose out of something that may have occurred "even further away."

Mr Chesnokov claims his aunt, Nadezhda Iljinichna Zhirnova,  was the only other person present when his mother, Liubov, gave birth to him.   His mother are aunt are deceased.

His mother came to Ireland from England and shortly after his birth his mother and aunt returned to the then USSR.

His birth was registered with the Soviet authorities in October 1940.

But he was not registered with the Irish authorities because of the parents' fear of possible repression by the then communist regime.

Throughout his life, all official documentation such has his passport and driver's licence, recorded his place of birth as being Dublin.

In 2010, after his son and grandchildren moved to Ireland, Mr Chesnokov applied to have his birth registered here, which would give him certain rights.

He gave an undertaking not to apply for any social welfare payments for benefits from the Irish state. He also submitted several documents backing up his claim, including testimony from family members.

However, he was turned down and appealed to the High Court.

Lawyers for the An tArd Chlaraitheoir oppose the action.

Mr Justice Hedigan said the integrity of An tArd Chlaraitheoir to maintain an absolute accurate register of births must be supported.

However, given "the chaotic time" in which Mr Chesnokov was born, the judge asked if some arrangement could be considered between the parties.

The case continues next week.

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