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New death certs will ease the pain of suicide families

NEW death certificates that will omit the cause of death are being introduced by the Government to limit the suffering of families who have lost loved ones to suicide.

At present, under the governing 2004 Civil Registration Act, a coroner or doctor provides the required particulars of a death, including cause of death, in order that it can be formally registered.

In effect, the death certificate is a copy of an entry in the register of deaths and must include the details as laid out in that entry including cause of death.

But Tánaiste Joan Burton has confirmed that she will bring in new regulations to allow a "short form" death certificate to be used, which will not include how the person lost their lives.

Ms Burton has said she is "very much aware" of the distress caused to families of those who died in tragic circumstances and the impact of having the cause of death registered on the death certificate.

As a result, she said that drafting of the regulations to allow for the omission of the cause of death from a death certificate is at an advanced stage.

COMFORT

"I hope that this will provide some comfort to families where the details of the cause of death registered are upsetting," Ms Burton has said.

"I will shortly introduce, by regulation, a short form death certificate that will omit the cause of death," she added.

Ms Burton was responding to a parliamentary question from People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, who specifically called on her to address the hurt caused to families who have lost someone to suicide.

There are approximately 400 deaths from suicide per year in Ireland at present.

Other than the distress caused to families, the necessity of formally recognising the cause of death has implications for the settlement of estates and for companies who provide life insurance policies.

When asked for its response to Ms Burton's proposals, industry leader, Irish Life said that it looks forward to seeing details of the Minister's planned proposal, but said it is too early to comment.

hnews@herald.ie


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