Laws

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

[Northern Ireland]

Limited information only available for these topics

Access to Children
Adoption of Children
Age of Consent
Anti-Vilification
Artifical Insemination
Assisted Reproduction
Asylum / Refugees
Bullying
  Civil Unions
Custody of Children
Discrimination
Estates, Wills
Fostering Children
Gender Identity
Harassment
Hate Crimes
  Health, Medical
Homosexuality
Immigration
Inheritance, Succession
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Marriage
Military
Parenting
  Partners
Pensions
Property
Sodomy
Surrogacy
Taxation
Transgender, Transsexual
Violence
Wrongful Death

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Age of Consent Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

As at June 2008, the age of consent for both gay and straight sex is 17 years [R2.1].

R2.1 PinkNews.co.uk: Change to Age of Consent Given Parliamentary Approval 05 JUN 08
Annuities, Death Benefits, Employee Benefits, Pensions, Retirement, Social Security, Superannuation Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 09 May 2017 Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar announced that the Government had approved the publication of the General Scheme of the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2017. Among other matters, the Bill will seek to ensure that same sex spouses and civil partners of members of occupational pension schemes will be able to obtain, in certain circumstances, a spouse's pension as any other married couples do [L1.2], [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 24 November 2016, the European Court of Justice ruled that retired Trinity College Dublin lecturer David Parris was not discriminated against on his pension rights because of his sexual orientation or age. The university's pension scheme rules prevent his same-sex partner of more than 30 years from accessing a survivor's pension in the event of his death, entitlement being conditional on a member having married or entered into a civil partnership before the age of 60 and it was legally impossible for Dr Parris to enter into a civil partnership before the age of 60 [C2.4], [R2.3].

On 30 June 2016, the Advocate General released an opinion finding that a pension scheme provision that a spouse's pension would only be available where a member had married or entered into a civil partnership prior to attaining the age of 60, constituted indirect discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, as well as direct age discrimination. Under Irish law, civil partnership was not recognised until 2011 and so, for homosexual individuals born prior to 1951, their partners could not be eligible for a spouse's pension under the scheme. The opinion sought by the Labour Court, Ireland does not bind the European Court of Justice [C2.2], [R2.1].

L1.2 Bill: General Scheme of the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2017 PDF 456.73kb MAY 17
R1.1 Department of Social Protection: Varadkar publishes Social Welfare Bill 2017 09 MAY 17
C2.4 Judgment: David L Parris v. Trinity College Dublin et al C-443/15 HTML 24 NOV 16
R2.3 TheTimes (registration): Gay lecturer loses pension discrimination case 25 NOV 16
C2.2 Opinion: Dr David L Parris v. Trinity College Dublin and Others No. C-443/15 HTML 30 JUN 16
R2.1 Lexology (Registration): Advocate General rules 'death-bed marriages' restriction discriminates against same-sex partners 15 JUL 16
Assisted Reproduction Technology
Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilisation, Surrogacy
Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

As at August 2001, there was no law in Ireland governing surrogate parenthood by either heterosexual or homosexual couples however, there had been calls for legislation to regulate surrogate births [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 10 December 2009, Judge Susan Denham in the lead opinion of a 5-judge panel of the Supreme Court ruled that a man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple had the right of access to the child [R2.1].

R1.1 Melbourne Community Voice No. 36: "Pink Bits" 10 AUG 01, page 6
R2.1 Lesbian/Gay Law Notes: Irish Supreme Court Rejects Gay De Facto Families and Authorizes Access to Lesbians' Child for Sperm Donor PDF 149.47kb, JAN 10
PinkNews.co.uk: Sperm donor wins access to lesbian couple's son 10 DEC 09
Asylum, Immigration, Refugees Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

A. Asylum, Refugees

Ireland is amongst those countries that have granted asylum to homosexuals who feared anti-gay persecution in their native lands [R1A.1].

B. Immigration

In November 2010, justice minister Dermot Ahern tabled amendments to the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill to give civil partners equal treatment in Ireland's immigration laws [R1B.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 11 August 2016, it was reported that Ms Justice Carmel Stewart in the High Court refused the application for judicial review of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal decision denying a Nigerian man in his 30s asylum. The Court found the man not to be credible as to his claims of persecution by Islamist extremists in his home country because he is a homosexual and the allegation that his house was set on fire in which his partner died [R2.5].

On 27 November 2015, Ms. Justice Stewart in the High Court concluded that the Refugee Appeals Tribunal did not take into account all relevant documents, relying heavily on interview in which O.P.E. was found to have an ignorant and ill-informed attitude to the question of what constitutes sexual orientation [that] seriously undermines the credibility of her claim. The Court granted an order of certiorari remitting the matter to the tribunal for reconsideration by a separate tribunal member [C2.4], [R2.3].

On 20 September 2013, Justice Colm Mac Eochaidh in the High Court granted A.P., a gay Iranian man, leave to seek judicial review and an order quashing the Refugee Appeals Tribunal decision and remitting the matter to be re-heard by the Tribunal. In the view of the court the Tribunal's finding was rendered unlawful by reason of the manner in which the credibility of the applicant was assessed - casting doubt as to his homosexuality and his being perceived to be such in Iran [C2.2], [R2.1].

R1A.1 Adelaide Gay Times: Sexual Orientation Asylum is now Common 22 NOV 96
R1B.1 PinkNews: Irish civil partners to be included in immigration laws 11 NOV 10
2. Courts & Tribunals
R2.5 TheIrishTimes: Nigerian man loses High Court appeal on persecution grounds 11 AUG 16
C2.4 Judgment: O.P.E. (Nigeria) and Refugee Appeals Tribunal [2015] IEHC 748, 27 NOV 15
R2.3 TheSundayTimes (subscription): Judge quashes lesbian asylum seeker ruling 13 DEC 15
C2.2 Judgment: A.P. v. The Refugee Appeals Tribunal and The Minister for Justice and Law Reform [2013] IEHC 448, 20 SEP 13
R2.1 GayStarNews: Gay Iranian man can challenge his asylum application rejection 02 NOV 13
Children: Access, Custody, Visitation Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 30 March 2015, the Seanad passed 20-2 the Children and Family Relationship Bill, extending guardianship, custody and adoption rights to same-sex partners and co-habiting couples. The Bill passed the Dáil on 12 March and now goes to President Michael D Higgins to sign it into law [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

In December 2009, Judge Susan Denham in the Supreme Court ruled that a man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple had the right of access to the child [R2.1].

R1.1 PinkNews: Irish senators approve same-sex adoption bill 02 APR 15
R2.1 PinkNews.co.uk: Sperm donor wins access to lesbian couple's son 10 DEC 09
Civil Unions, Partners: Domestic, Registered Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 16 November 2015, the Marriage Equality Act came into force when Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald signed the commencement order and there will be no more civil partnerships in Ireland. All those who secured civil partnerships in Ireland will have that status recognised, unless they opt to transfer the arrangement into a new same-sex marriage. If they do so, their old civil partnership arrangement will be dissolved as part of the process [R1.24].

On 22 February 2012, the Free Legal Advice Centres reported that a woman from another EU country who was born a man has entered a civil partnership with a woman in Ireland. It is the first civil partnership in the State involving a transgender person, and could not have been entered if it had involved an Irish transgender woman [R1.23].

On 25 December 2011, same-sex marriages from New York are to be recognised as Irish civil partnerships. Irish-based couples in any of these relationships will, from that date, be subject to the same legal regime and the same rights and obligations as a couple who register a civil partnership in Ireland. They will also be treated in the same way as opposite sex couples for immigration purposes, ensuring that a US citizen married to an Irish citizen in New York will be able to live and work in Ireland [D1.22], [R1.21].

In September 2011, Marriage Equality released a report "Missing Pieces". A Comparison of the rights and responsibilities gained from civil partnership compared to the rights and responsibilities gained through civil marriage in Ireland is available [R1.20].

From 13 January 2011, gay and lesbian couples living in Ireland who have married or had a civil partnership abroad will be automatically recognised as civil partners. However, the French PACS, will not be recognised being deemed not to offer as many rights as Irish marriages or civil partnerships [L1.19], [R1.18].

From January 1, 2011 same-sex couples will be able to apply to the Civil Registrar to enter into a Civil Partnership. Couples must give three months notice to the Civil Registrar before having a civil partnership ceremony [R1.17]. Download booklet for details [R1.16].

On 19 July 2010, President Mary McAleese, signed the Civil Partnership Bill into law, offering same-sex couples protections that include access to pensions, inheritance, and power of attorney, among others [R1.15]. It is to take effect in January 2011.

Previously:

On 08 July 2010, the upper parliamentary house, the Seanad, passed the Civil Partnership Cohabitation Bill in a 48 to 4 vote [R1.14].

In July 2010, a bill that would recognize the civil partnerships of same-sex couples passed the Dáil, and moved to the upper chamber for ratification [R1.13].

On 27 May 2010, legislation to give same-sex couples similar rights to married couples moved closer to enactment after it passed Committee stage in the Dáil [R1.12].

on 27 January 2010, the bill to allow gay couples the right to civil partnerships completed its second stage in the Dail. It will now go to a committee for further scrutiny [R1.11].

On 03 December 2009, a bill to allow civil partnerships was slated to be presented to parliament. The Bill would grant rights that include ones relating to domestic violence, residential tenancies, succession, refugee law, pensions and immigration [R1.10.

In June 2009, minister for justice Dermot Ahern said he would soon seek cabinet approval for a civil partnerships bill which could be enacted by the end of the year [R1.9].

In May 2009, the Health Service Executive announced plans to draw up guidelines to ensure that hospitals recognize gay and lesbian relationships and the same-sex partners of patients [R1.8].

In February 2009, the Irish Human Rights Commission said that in the context of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, the core principle of equivalence of human rights on both sides of the border suggests that civil partnership in the Republic "should, at a minimum, be akin to the principles within the Civil Partnership Act 2004 in Northern Ireland" [R1.7].

In January 2009, the government listed a Civil Partnership Bill among legislation for the spring session of Parliament [R1.6].

In June 2008, the Irish Government published the General Scheme of Civil Partnership Bill which if passed would be the first time lesbian and gay relationships are recognised, supported and protected in Irish law [R1.5].

The Bill may be viewed: HERE.

Previously

The Irish Civil Partnership law was expected to be introduced in 2008 [R1.4].

A bill outlining the new proposed legislation was earlier expected to be published in March, with the legislation being introduced in the early 2008 summer. A draft version was circulated to government departments and although no date was given, the bill was expected to be published soon [R1.3].

The National Economic and Social Forum had recommended to Government that partnerships between same-sex couples should be given civil recognition and rights similar to those of married couples [R1.2].


In 2000, the Cork County Council considered a draft bylaw that would have allowed anyone in a committed relationship to register as domestic partners with the council [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 24 November 2016, the European Court of Justice ruled that retired Trinity College Dublin lecturer David Parris was not discriminated against on his pension rights because of his sexual orientation or age. The university's pension scheme rules prevent his same-sex partner of more than 30 years from accessing a survivor's pension in the event of his death, entitlement being conditional on a member having married or entered into a civil partnership before the age of 60 and it was legally impossible for Dr Parris to enter into a civil partnership before the age of 60 [C2.6], [R2.5].

On 30 June 2016, the Advocate General released an opinion finding that a pension scheme provision that a spouse's pension would only be available where a member had married or entered into a civil partnership prior to attaining the age of 60, constituted indirect discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, as well as direct age discrimination. Under Irish law, civil partnership was not recognised until 2011 and so, for homosexual individuals born prior to 1951, their partners could not be eligible for a spouse's pension under the scheme. The opinion sought by the Labour Court, Ireland does not bind the European Court of Justice [C2.4], [R2.3].

On 18 November 2013, it was reported that a same-sex couple have had their (UK) civil partnership dissolved in what is believed to be the first such case to come before an Irish court. The Civil Partnership Act, allows couples to begin dissolution proceedings if they have lived apart for two out of the previous three years [R2.2].

In September 2003, when the Equality Authority intervened, the Department of Social and Family Affairs agreed to a gay pensioner having a Free Travel Pass issued to his partner [R2.1].

R1.24 TheIndependent: Over 600 wait to wed as gay marriages 'go live' today 16 NOV 15
R1.23 Irish Times: Woman born a man enters civil partnership with female 27 FEB 12
D1.22 Department of Justice and Equality: Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence announces recognition of additional foreign registered relationships under the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 19 DEC 11
R1.21 Irish Examiner: Same-sex New York marriages to be recognised in Ireland 19 DEC 11
R1.20 Marriage Equality: Missing Pieces PDF 3.46MB, 29 SEP 11
L1.19 Civil Partnership (Recognition of Registered Foreign Relationships) Order 2010 PDF 105.65kb, 31 DEC 10
R1.18 365Gay.com: Ireland recognises foreign gay marriage and partnerships 13 JAN 11
R1.17 Gay Community News: Civil Partnership Act Commences 23 DEC 10
R1.16 General Register Office: "An Information Leaflet on the Registration of Civil Partnerships in Ireland" PDF 129.46kb, 15 DEC 10
R1.15 The Advocate: Irish President Signs Gay Partners Bill 19 JUL 10
R1.14 365Gay.com: Ireland parliament passes civil partnerships bill 08 JUL 10
R1.13 The Advocate: Civil Partnerships Bill Passes in Ireland 02 JUL 10
R1.12 Irish Examiner: Civil Partnership Bill passes Committee stage 28 MAY 10
R1.11 PinkNews.co.uk: Irish civil partnerships bill progresses through parliament 28 JAN 09
R1.10 PinkNews.co.uk: Irish civil partnerships bill presented to parliament today 03 DEC 09
R1.9 PinkNews.co.uk: Irish civil partnerships could be enacted by end of the year 22 JUN 09
R1.8 The Advocate: Ireland Hospitals to Recognize Gay Couples 14 MAY 09
R1.7 PinkNews.co.uk: Ireland's Human Rights Body Backs Civil Partnerships for Gay and Lesbian Couples 10 FEB 09
R1.6 PinkNews.co.uk: Civil Partnerships Bill Listed in Irish Parliament's Spring Session 27 JAN 09
R1.5 PinkNews.co.uk: Irish Gay Rights Group Welcomes Civil Partnership Bill 24 JUN
General Scheme of Civil Partnership Bill 28 JUN 08
R1.4 bnews: Irish Civil Unions 11 JAN 08
R1.3 PinkNews.co.uk: No Date Set for Irish Civil Partnerships Legislation 11 JUN 08
R1.2 The Irish Times: Report Urges Same-sex Partnership Rights 25 JUN 03
R1.1 Adelaide Gay Times: Cork May Recognise Gay Couples18 FEB 00
2. Courts & Tribunals
C2.6 Judgment: David L Parris v. Trinity College Dublin et al C-443/15 HTML 24 NOV 16
R2.5 TheTimes (registration): Gay lecturer loses pension discrimination case 25 NOV 16
C2.4 Opinion: Dr David L Parris v. Trinity College Dublin and Others No. C-443/15 HTML 30 JUN 16
R2.3 Lexology (Registration): Advocate General rules 'death-bed marriages' restriction discriminates against same-sex partners 15 JUL 16
R2.2 The Irish Times: Same-sex couple make legal history with first civil partnership dissolution 18 NOV 13
R2.1 Irish Examiner: Gay Man's Partner Granted Free Travel Pass 25 SEP 03

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Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 08 December 2015, Bill Number 114 of 2015 the Equality in Education Bill 2015 was introduced, which if passed into law would repeal provisions of the Equal Status Act 2000 that allow discrimination on religious grounds against children in admissions to school [R1.5].

On 04 December 2015, the Oireachtas approved the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill that scraps Section 37(1) of the Employment Equality Act, which exempts the promotion of 'certain religious values' from the legal definition of discrimination, extending equality law protections for LGBT teachers to schools and institutions run by the Catholic Church. The bill is due to be signed into law shortly. [R1.4].

In 1999, Ireland's Employment Equality Act banned direct and indirect job discrimination based on sexual orientation [R1.3].

The law also prohibits unwelcome, offensive, humiliating or intimidating actions. However, it exempts religious institutions in instances where it conflicts with their teachings.


On 31 October 2015, it was reported that a gay male couple celebrating their second anniversary together were asked to leave a Dublin city centre restaurant as other diners had complained of their showing each other physical affection but not kissing. As they were leaving a female diner said 'disgusting' [R1.2].

On 28 June 2014, it was reported that the Government was expected to pass an amendment to Employment Equality Act to ensure religious-run schools or hospitals cannot dismiss staff on such grounds as being a lone parent or a divorcee, or on the basis of sexual orientation. The Dáil and Seanad may pass the amendment in the autumn session, possibly by September or October [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 31 August 2017, Adjudication Officer Ian Barrett in the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) dismissed the discrimination case taken by Mark Savage against employment advisors, Seetec Employment And Skills Ireland. Savage had listed a key achievement as standing up for his religious beliefs which include that ''homosexuality is an intrinsic disorder inclined towards evil''. The Tribunal found that the Complainant was not discriminated against by the Respondent on grounds of religion and was not treated unlawfully by being discriminated against in the provision of goods/services under Section 21 of the Equal Status Act, 2000 [C2.12], [R2.11].

On 10 July 2017, Adjudication Officer Ian Barrett in the Workplace Relations Commission ruled that a County Dublin bakery did not discriminate against a man when refusing to bake a €700 cake with the anti-gay marriage message ''BY THE GRACE OF THE GOOD LORD, I (name redacted), that in my honest opinion - 'GAY MARRIAGE' IS A PERVERSION OF EQUALITY and the 34th Amendment to the Irish Constitution should be REPEALED'' [C2.10], [R2.9].

On 24 November 2016, the European Court of Justice ruled that retired Trinity College Dublin lecturer David Parris was not discriminated against on his pension rights because of his sexual orientation or age. The university's pension scheme rules prevent his same-sex partner of more than 30 years from accessing a survivor's pension in the event of his death, entitlement being conditional on a member having married or entered into a civil partnership before the age of 60 and it was legally impossible for Dr Parris to enter into a civil partnership before the age of 60 [C2.8], [R2.7].

On 30 June 2016, the Advocate General released an opinion finding that a pension scheme provision that a spouse's pension would only be available where a member had married or entered into a civil partnership prior to attaining the age of 60, constituted indirect discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, as well as direct age discrimination. Under Irish law, civil partnership was not recognised until 2011 and so, for homosexual individuals born prior to 1951, their partners could not be eligible for a spouse's pension under the scheme. The opinion sought by the Labour Court, Ireland does not bind the European Court of Justice [C2.6], [R2.5].

On 20 May 2013, the director of the Equality Tribunal, Mr Niall McCutcheon awarded two lesbian employees a total of 15,000 euros (£12,790) after suffering harassment and sexual harassment whilst working at a restaurant in Cork [C2.4], [R2.3].

On 20 December 2012, The Equality Tribunal ordered a credit union to pay an employee claimant €8,000 in respect of discrimination and €16,000 in respect of victimisation on the basis of sexual orientation [C2.2], [R2.1].

R1.5 Explanatory Memorandum: Equality in Education Bill 2015 PDF 271.81kb DEC 15
R1.4 IrishLegalNews: Equality law protections extended to religious-run schools and hospitals 04 DEC 15
R1.3 Capital Q: Ireland Bans Discrimination 10 DEC 99
R1.2 GayStarNews: Gay couple celebrating anniversary asked to leave Dublin restaurant for holding hands 31 OCT 15
R1.1 TheIrishTimes: Law change will protect position of gay teachers 28 JUN 14
2. Courts & Tribunals
C2.12 Decision: Mark Savage v. Seetec Employment And Skills Ireland Designated Activity Company ADJ-00005992 HTML 31 AUG 17
R2.11 TheIrishTimes: Man who said homosexuality and abortion are evil loses discrimination case 14 SEP 17
C2.10 Decision/Recommendation: Anonymised Parties ADJ-00004390 HTML 10 JUL 17
R2.9 TheIrishTimes: Dublin bakery’s refusal of anti-gay marriage cake 'not discrimination' 24 JUL 17
C2.8 Judgment: David L Parris v. Trinity College Dublin et al C-443/15 24 NOV 16
R2.7 TheTimes (registration): Gay lecturer loses pension discrimination case 25 NOV 16
C2.6 Opinion: Dr David L Parris v. Trinity College Dublin and Others No. C-443/15 HTML 30 JUN 16
R2.5 Lexology (Registration): Advocate General rules 'death-bed marriages' restriction discriminates against same-sex partners 15 JUL 16
C2.4 Equality Tribunal: Laura Mezei & Melanda Magyar v. Eddie Rocket's Blackpool Cork DEC-E2013-045, 20 MAY 13
R2.3 PinkNews: Lesbian couple win discrimination case against restaurant 20 JUN 13
C2.2 The Equality Tribunal: An Employee v. A Credit Union DEC-E2012-190, 20 DEC 12
R2.1 PinkNews: Gay rights group welcomes employment discrimination ruling 22 JAN 13
Estates, Inheritance, Succession, Property, Wills Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [CIVIL UNIONS]
1.

National

On 19 July 2010, President Mary McAleese, signed the Civil Partnership Bill into law, offering same-sex couples protections that include access to pensions, inheritance, and power of attorney, among others [R1.3]. It is to take effect in January 2011.

Previously

The Irish Civil Partnership law was expected to be introduced in 2008 [R1.2].

Irish law did not recognise same-sex relationships and in the absence of agreement, the only means of resolving same-sex property disputes is to resort to the Courts [R1.1].

R1.3 The Advocate: Irish President Signs Gay Partners Bill 19 JUL 10
R1.2 bnews: Irish Civil Unions 11 JAN 08
R1.1 Gay.com UK: Courts to Decide Dispute Over Lesbian Couple's House 14 MAR 03
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual

[?]
Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [CIVIL UNIONS]
1.

National

On 04 September 2015, the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton announced that she has signed the Commencement Order for the Gender Recognition Act 2015 to take effect on 08 September 2015 [R1.7].

On 22 July 2015, President Michael D Higgins signed the Gender Recognition Act 2015 into law [R1.6].

On 16 July 2015, it was reported that the Oireachtas (Parliament) passed the gender recognition bill set to be signed into law by the end of July permitting transgender people in Ireland to change their legal gender based on self-identification alone, without medical or state intervention, Ireland becoming the fifth country to do so after Denmark, Malta, Argentina and Colombia [R1.5].

On 15 June 2011, a Gender Recognition Advisory Group report [R1.4] recommended legislation to recognize gender identity set out that a person over 18 and living for at least two years in their new gender and providing a formal medical diagnosis of their condition would be entitled to legal recognition and to marry a person of the opposite sex, or to enter a civil partnership with a person of the same sex. This would prohibit people already in marriages or civil partnerships from receiving gender recognition unless they break up their relationships [R1.3].

In June 2010, Ireland reportedly was to introduce new legislation to recognise trans people's new identities after the government scrapped an appeal to the Supreme Court in the case of Dr Lydia Foy [R1.2].

In 2008, the Irish Parliament, granted transgendered people the right to have a passport issued in their new gender [R1.1].

The Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) stated that there is a need to reform laws regarding transgendered people and birth certificates, under the current Irish laws, a transgendered person is not allowed to have a new birth certificate issued in their new gender [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 27 February 2013, Dr Lydia Foy reportedly had issued proceedings against the Irish state as she remains unable to get a birth certificate indicating she is a woman despite having won a previous high court ruling in her favor [R2.6].

See also [R2.1 - R2.4] below.


On 19 April 2011, the Equality Tribunal awarded Ms Hannon £30,000, ruling she was discriminated against on the grounds of gender and disability when First Direct Logistics Ltd requested Ms Hannon to switch between a male/female identity whenever the respondent company felt the need for it [R2.5].


On 21 June 2010, the government withdrew an appeal against the High Court ruling in 2000 that the Irish government's choice not to issue transwoman Dr Lydia Foy with a new birth certificate violated international human rights laws [R2.4].

Previously:

On 19 October 2007, High Court Judge Liam McKechnie gave the government just two months to decide how to tackle birth registration laws for people who have undergone gender reassignment surgery, finding in the case of transwoman Dr Lydia Foy that the laws breach the European Convention on Human Rights [R2.3].

In July 2002, Justice Liam McKechnie refused an application by transwoman Dr Lydia Foy to have her gender changed from male to female on her birth certificate [R2.2].

In 2000, the High Court ruled that the Irish government's choice not to issue transwoman Dr Lydia Foy with a new birth certificate violated international human rights laws [R2.1].

R1.7 RTEnews: State to formally recognise people's preferred gender 04 SEP 15
R1.6 President of Ireland: 2015 Legisdlation (Accessed 08 SEP 15)
R1.5 Time: Ireland Passes Historic Transgender Rights Bill 16 JUL 15
R1.4 Gender Recognition Advisory Group: Report to Joan Burton, T.D. PDF 354.17kb, 15 JUN 11
R1.3 The Advocate: Complications for Transgender Recognition in Ireland 15 JUL 11
R1.2 PinkNews: Irish trans woman wins battle to be recognised as female 21 JUN 10
R1.1 PinkNews.co.uk: Irish Human Rights Commission Calls for Transgender Rights 01 OCT 08
R2.6 GayStarNews: Transgender woman to sue Irish state over birth certificate delay 27 FEB 13
R2.5 PinkNews: Irish trans woman wins £30,000 for discrimination 18 APR 11
R2.4 PinkNews: Irish trans woman wins battle to be recognised as female 21 JUN 10
R2.3 MCV: Irish Trans Birth Certificates 21 FEB 08
R2.2 Queensland Pride: Irish Transsexual Always a Male 19 JUL 02
R2.1 PinkNews: Irish trans woman wins battle to be recognised as female 21 JUN 10
Hate Crimes Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

Ireland's 1989 Incitement to Hatred Act makes it unlawful to publish or distribute literature which is threatening, abusive or insulting, linked with the intent of stirring up hatred [R1.1].

R1.1 Irish Times: Legal Warning to Church on Gay Stance 02 AUG 03
Health, Medical Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 16 January 2017, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service lifted the permanent ban on men who have sex with men from donating blood. Under the new rules, a man who has had oral or anal sex with another man in the past 12 months will still not be eligible to donate, even if he used a condom or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) [R1.1].

R1.1 PinkNews.co.uk: Ireland lifts lifetime ban on gay men giving blood 16 JAN 17
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

In 1993, consensual sex between same-sex couples was decriminalised [R1.1].

Previously:

Senator David Norris, fought for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland.

Homosexuality was eventually decriminalised in 1993, four years after the European Court of Human Rights made its ruling in favour of Mr Norris.

R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, MAY 08
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 16 November 2015, the Marriage Equality Act came into force when Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald signed the commencement order [R1.20].

See: Gay & Lesbian Equality Network "We Want to Get Married" graphic for various scenarios that may apply to you.

On 30 October 2015, the Presidential Commission signed the 'Marriage Bill 2015' into law. President Michael D Higgins is on a visit to the United States, so in his place the bill was signed by senior delegates of the Presidential Commission [R1.19].

On 20 October 2015, the Seanad finally passed the Marriage Equality Bill which now goes President Michael D Higgins to be signed into law [R1.18].

On 30 September 2015, the Oireachtas Justice Committee passed the Marriage Bill without amendment. The Bill now goes back to the Dáil (lower house) for its final approval and then on to the Seanad (upper house) for its final consideration [R1.17].

On 24 September 2015, it was reported that Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald had agreed a new amendment to the Marriage Bill 2015 making its way through the Oireachtas, that will enable couples already in civil partnerships to marry without having to give a three-month notification [R1.16].

On 16 September 2015, the Government announced that same-sex couples already in civil partnerships will pay a reduced fee of €50 if they decide to marry. Other couples will pay €200 when they notify a Registrar of their intention to get married. The Marriage Bill will be introduced to the Dáil and the Seanad next week [R1.15].

On 29 August 2015, President Michael D Higgins signed the Thirty-Fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015, amending the Constitution so that: 'Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex'. The Government will now bring forward the Marriage Bill 2015 after the September break, which will make the necessary changes in existing statute law. Meanwhile, Gerry Walshe and Maurice J Lyons have filed applications in the Supreme Court for leave to appeal the Court of Appeal dismissal of their application for leave to bring petitions challenging the result of the referendum, a move that could delay the legislation [R1.14].

On 23 May 2015, of 1,935,907 voters (a 60.5% turnout), 1,201,607 people (62%) voted in favour of amending the constitution to allow same-sex marriage with 734,300 (38%) against, giving a majority of 467,307 [R1.13].


Article 41 of the Irish constitution provides:

"The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of marriage, on which the family is founded, and to protect it against attack."

It does not give any definition of marriage itself, and critics and constitutional scholars argue it does not outlaw gay marriage [R1.12].


On 16 April 2015, Barrister Benedict Ó Floinn wrote that without amendment, the Civil Registration Act (the Act), which currently regulates marriage ceremonies, will be out of kilter if the amendment of Article 41 of the Constitutional is approved by voters in the referendum on 22 May and the proposed amendment of the Act will then be out of kilter with an amended Constitution [R1.11].

On 20 February 2015, Prime Minister Enda Kenny was reported to have said he expects the same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland to be held on Friday, 22 May [R1.10].

On 16 December 2014, Prime Minister Enda Kenny informed the parliament that the government would subject its planned Marriage Equality Bill to a public referendum in May on a date to be selected [R1.9].

On 08 February 2014, a Department of Justice spokesman reportedly confirmed that if the May 2015 referendum allowing same sex marriage in Ireland is passed, unions that took place in 45 foreign countries will be granted retrospective recognition as marriages in the jurisdiction [R1.8].

On 11 December 2013, the Minister for Justice and Equality Alan Shatter was reported to have made an order, effective 31 December 2013, recognising gay and lesbian couples who married abroad in places where equal marriage became legal in 2013 and extending to them the rights and entitlements which apply to Irish Civil partnerships [R1.7].

On 05 November 2013, the Irish Government Cabinet agreed to hold a referendum to amend the constitution on same sex marriage (and reducing the voting age to 17) in May 2015 [R1.6].

On 21 June 2013, Tánaiste and Labour Party leader Éamon Gilmore confirmed that a referendum on same sex marriage would be held some time next year [R1.5].

On 14 April 2013, the Constitutional Convention recommended the Constitution be changed to allow for civil marriage for same-sex couples. 79 out of 100 convention members voted in favour of allowing same-sex marriage in the Irish Constitution. 81 voted in favour of enacting laws to give “appropriate” protections to the same-sex parents of children, and 78 voted that the laws should be enacted throughout Ireland. The decision was taken by 29 members of the Oireachtas, three members of the Stormont Assembly and 65 citizens selected by a polling company to represent a cross-section of the Republic's electorate broken down by age, gender and region [R1.4].


In 2007, a proposed referendum to allow gay marriage in Ireland was rejected by the Minister for Justice [R1.3]


In 2004, a key legislative committee was looking at whether the Irish constitution should be changed to allow for gay marriage, as part of a wider review of family rights [R1.2].


In 2003, the government of Ireland was to completely overhaul the country's marriage laws, and consider the legal status of transgendered people for the first time [R1.1].

An interdepartmental committee received public consultations until March 31, after which time it published discussion papers on 14 specific topics [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 16 September 2015, the Supreme Court refused to grant leave to appeal against a decision of the Court of Appeal dismissing two separate applications filed by Gerry Walshe and Maurice J Lyons challenging the validity of the 22 May same-sex marriage referendum, ruling that the Constitutional threshold for leave to appeal had not been met and there was no substance to the points raised [R2.3].

On 30 July 2015, the Court of Appeal dismissing the two separate applications of Gerry Walshe and Maurice J Lyons for leave to bring petitions challenging the result of this year's same-sex marriage referendum, awarding costs against both men. The decision means the referendum returning officer can issue the certificate confirming the result of the 22 May poll. A stay on the issuing of the certificate had applied pending the appeal court's ruling. It has now been lifted [R2.2].

On 17 July 2009, Mr. Justice Henry Abbott in the High Court granted an annulment of a marriage to the wife of a transsexual, finding her marriage should be treated as void where her former spouse had failed to disclose his transsexuality prior to the marriage and she would not have consented to marry had she known about it [R2.1].

R1.20 TheIndependent: Over 600 wait to wed as gay marriages 'go live' today 16 NOV 15
R1.19 BBCnews: Ireland's same-sex marriage bill passes final hurdle 30 OCT 15
R1.18 NewsTalk: Same sex marriage one step closer to becoming law as Seanad passes bill 20 OCT 15
R1.17 98FM: Same Sex Weddings Are Another Step Closer After Today 30 SEP 15
R1.16 TheIrishTimes: Same-sex civil partners to skip notification period 24 SEP 15
R1.15 TheIrishTimes: Same-sex civil partners will pay reduced marriage fee 17 SEP 15
R1.14 TheIrishTimes: President signs same-sex marriage into Constitution 29 AUG 15
R1.13 TheIrishTimes: Ireland becomes first country to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote 23 MAY 15
R1.12 PinkNews.co.uk: Irish Gay Rights Group Welcomes Civil Partnership Bill 24 JUN 08
R1.11 TheIrishTimes: Same-sex marriage referendum: Legal loopholes may cast long shadow 16 MAY 15
R1.10 BBC News: Enda Kenny expects same-sex marriage referendum to be on 22 May 20 FEB 15
R1.9 EdgeOnTheNet: Ireland Plans May Vote on Legalizing Gay Marriage 16 DEC 14
R1.8 Sunday Independent: Ireland to recognise foreign gay marriages 09 FEB 14
R1.7 PinkNews: Justice Minister announces order to recognise foreign same-sex marriages 11 DEC 13
R1.6 The Irish Times: Referendum on same-sex marriage to be held in 2015 05 NOV 13
R1.5 TheDailyShift: Irish public to vote on same sex marriage in 2014 23 JUN 13
R1.4 RTÉ News: Constitutional Convention recommends referendum on same-sex marriage 14 APR 13
R1.3 MCV: Ireland Rejects Gay Marriage13 DEC 07
R1.2 MCV: Gay Marriage Review 12 NOV 04
R1.1 Gay.com UK: Irish Marriage Law Reform to Consider Transgender Marriage 24 FEB 03
R2.3 RTEnews: Supreme Court blocks appeal over same-sex marriage 16 SEP 15
R2.2 TheIrishTimes: Appeal court clears last legal obstacle to same-sex marriage 30 JUL 15
R2.1 Lesbian/Gay Law Notes: Annulment of marriage to wife of transsexual MAY 11
Parenting, Adoption, Fostering Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 03 May 2016, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, James O' Reilly presented the Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016 (Bill No. 23 of 2016), which updates Ireland's adoption law to give same-sex couples the right to adopt, and provides for joint parenting of lesbian and gay couples. The Bill must now be passed by the Oireachtas (Parliament) [L1.9], [R1.8].

On 30 March 2015, the Seanad passed 20-2 the Children and Family Relationship Bill, extending guardianship, custody and adoption rights to same-sex partners and co-habiting couples. The Bill passed the Dáil on 12 March and now goes to President Michael D Higgins to sign it into law [R1.7].

Irish law does not prohibit fostering of children by same-sex couples.

Previously:

In February 2009, the Adoption and Children Act came into effect limiting access to adoption to married couples and individuals, excluding non-married same-sex and opposite-sex couples [R1.6].

Under Ireland's Adoption Act, [single] gays and lesbians will be allowed to adopt children [R1.5]. However, the Act prevents unmarried couples adopting, it approves adoption by any single person which means that only one person in a same-sex relationship would be recognised as a parent.

The government-appointed Equality Authority had urged that same-sex couples should get equal rights on fostering and adopting children [R1.4].


On 20 November 2012, Justice Minister Alan Shatter announced a dedicated Children and Family Relationships Bill 2014 to amend guardianship, custody and access laws and to ensure maintenance and inheritance rights for the children of civil partners [L1.3], [R1.2].

In May 2002, the government-appointed Equality Authority urged that same-sex couples should get equal rights on fostering and adopting children [R1.1].

L1.9 Bill: Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016 PDF 472.82kb, 04 MAY 16
R1.8 GayStarNews: New adoption bill published in Ireland gives same-sex couples right to adopt 07 MAY 16
R1.7 PinkNews: Irish senators approve same-sex adoption bill 02 APR 15
R1.6 PinkNews.co.uk: Ireland to Refuse Adoption Rights for Gay Couples 11 FEB 09
R1.5 MCV: Irish Gays to Adopt 09 SEP 05
R1.4 Online.ie: Rights Watchdog Calls for Adoption Rights for Gay Couples 22 MAY 02
L1.3 Bill: Children and Family Relationships Bill 2014 PDF 485.21kb, 30 JAN 14
R1.2 Independent: Same-sex parents to get new rights 22 NOV 12
R1.1 Online.ie: Rights Watchdog Calls for Adoption Rights for Gay Couples 22 MAY 02
Taxation Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 29 January 2011, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan promised tax entitlements for gay and cohabiting couples officially recognised by the State will be backdated to the start of the year – even though the law to allow this will not be passed on his watch. [R1.1].

R1.1 Irish Independent: Lenihan pledges tax entitlements for gay couples will be backdated 31 JAN 11
Violence: Bullying, Domestic Violence, Harassment, Vilification Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 13 September 2013, the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., published new mandatory anti-bullying procedures to be adopted and implemented by all 4,000 primary and post primary schools no later than the end of the second term of the 2013/14 school years [R1.1].

R1.1 PinkNews.co.uk: Education Minister launches new policy to combat anti-gay and anti-trans bullying in schools 13 SEP 13

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