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    Register deaths of Irish abroad, say campaigners

    By Noreen Bowden | March 20, 2010

    The law should be changed so that the deaths of Irish citizens who die abroad can be registered in Ireland, says a new movement that appears to be gaining rapid support online.

    A Facebook page called “Help bring them home” and an online petition were launched last week. Organisers say they were moved to do so by the deaths of two Galwaymen who died in accidents in the US in July:  21-year-old Keith O’Reilly, who died in Chicago in a swimming accident, and 27-year-old Keith Forde, who was killed in a fall from a New York hotel. Their deaths were only registered in the US, in keeping with current legislation; their families feel that they should be able to record the young men’s deaths through official channels at home as well.

    From the Facebook page:

    The 2004 Civil Registration Act covers the registration of births, stillbirths and deaths in relation to the Irish public.

    Under the current legislation the death of an Irish citizen who dies abroad is only recorded and registered in the Irish republic if they fall under one of the following categories:
    1) The death of a person on an Irish aircraft or an Irish ship
    2) The death of an Irish citizen on board any foreign ship or foreign aircraft in transit
    3) The death of a serving member of the Garda Síochána or the Irish Defence Forces

    What this means is that for the vast majority of Irish citizens who die abroad they never have that death recorded or registered back in their home country.

    Without the registration of that death back in Ireland it makes life far more difficult for the family members they leave behind. On top of this it means that future generations will find it extremely difficult to figure out what happened to their ancestors when they search through any Irish documentation.

    These people are not just statistics, they deserve the right to be recognised by their country even in death. It’s important we make this change now not only to help with the grieving process but also for future families who may have to go through this awful event.

    The movement has been gaining ground quickly. Launched on March 16, the Facebook group has already gathered over 1000 fans, and the petition has over 700 signatories. The group reports that they have received support from 23 TDs, including “2 government ministers, an Tánaiste, 4 opposition spokespersons, and the Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore.”

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    Topics: Latest News | 1 Comment »

    One Response to “Register deaths of Irish abroad, say campaigners”

    1. Should we have a “Book of Irish connections”? | – about Irish emigration and the diaspora Says:
      January 4th, 2011 at 7:01 pm

      [...] Such a measure would be a highly valuable record for generations to come. And as the ongoing campaign for the recording of Irish deaths abroad has shown, there is a need for record-keeping to keep up with the global nature of Irish life [...]