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A raw deal for unmarried dads

Sir, – I agree with John Waters (Opinion, January 6th) when he says that “unmarried Irish fathers remain deeply ignorant of their legal situation”. Treoir works to inform unmarried parents of their legal rights. Given the increasing number of unmarried parents in Ireland, this is indeed a daunting task.

Our experience in the National Information Service for unmarried parents is that unmarried parents assume where the father’s name is on the child’s birth certificate that the father acquires guardianship rights in respect of his child. This is not so. A father has to take action to become guardian. He can either sign an agreement with the mother (but alas, there is no central register for such agreements) or he can apply to the local district court to be appointed guardian.

The Law Reform Commission has issued its report on legal aspects of family relationships which contains significant recommendations for the improvement of guardianship rights for unmarried fathers. Though these recommendations may take some time to come into affect it is a step in the right direction. – Yours, etc,


Assistant Chief Executive


IFSC, Dublin 1.

Margot Doherty Letter to the – Irish Times | Tue, Jan 10, 2012 | Link to Irish Times Article