Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Marriage Law Reform.

Wednesday, 26 October 1977

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 300 No. 9

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25.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  asked the Minister for Justice the legislative steps he proposes to take with regard to the problem of marriage law reform in this country.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  The Law Reform Commission are at present engaged in a study of various aspects of the law of marriage. In this connection, I should like to refer the Deputy to paragraphs 2, 8 and 12 of the First Programme of the Commission, laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas on 4th January, 1977; also the Attorney General, pursuant to the provisions of section 4 (2) (c) of the Law Reform Commission Act, 1975, has requested the commission to examine the law relating to nullity of marriage dealt with in the discussion paper issued in August, 1976, by his office.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Unfortunately, I could not hear some of the replies but can the Minister give any indication of the timetable for legislation or will this consultation go on indefinitely?

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  I apologise for the Deputy not being able to hear me. There was no discourtesy intended. Perhaps I should read the reply again.

The Law Reform Commission are at present engaged in a study of various aspects of the law of marriage. In this connection, I should like to refer the Deputy to paragraphs 2, 8 and 12 of the First [1240] Programme of the Commission, laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas on 4th January, 1977; also the Attorney General, pursuant to the provisions of section 4 (2) (c) of the Law Reform Commission Act 1975, has requested the commission to examine the law relating to nullity of marriage dealt with in the discussion paper issued in August, 1976, by his office.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Is it the Minister's intention to introduce legislation dealing specifically with nullity or will he accept that the legislation must go beyond that and provide for some form of civil divorce?

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  Until such time as the Law Reform Commission report back to me I would prefer to keep my options open and not to give a commitment of any kind.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  Question No. 26.

Mr. O'Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  May I ask a question, please?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  I will permit the Deputy to ask a short question.

Mr. O'Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  Can the Minister give any indication when the commission will be in a position to report?

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  I have not had any indication yet from the commission when they may be able to report to me on this matter, but I am sure they are aware of the importance of the question and I should like to think that I can expect a report from them as quickly as possible.

Dr. Browne: Information on Noel C. Browne  Zoom on Noel C. Browne  Can the Minister say why he is restricting his request to the Law Reform Commission to the idea of nullity, thereby excluding the question of providing for the possibility of similar facilities for people of the minority religion? In other words, why is he not having examined the possibility of providing for the dissolution of marriage in the form of civil divorce?

Mr. Kelly: Information on John M. Kelly  Zoom on John M. Kelly  Because that would be discriminatory.

[1241]Dr. Browne: Information on Noel C. Browne  Zoom on Noel C. Browne  Why is the question being restricted to the Catholic problem, thereby excluding Protestants? Is this an awkward question?

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  I suggest that if the Deputy wants a proper reply to that proper awkward question, he would table it for next week when I should be glad to reply.


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