Press Statement: SENATOR BACIK PROPOSES MOTION TO DEAL WITH FORCED MARRIAGES
Posted on June 25, 2014
BACIK PROPOSES MOTION TO DEAL WITH FORCED MARRIAGES
Senator Ivana Bacik will later today propose a Private Member’s Motion in the Seanad on behalf of the Labour Senators asking the Government to consider removing or amending the statutory provision which allows minors to marry on the basis of a court exemption.
The motion will be seconded by Independent Senator Jillian Van Turnhout and the Government will be accepting the motion. Senator Bacik said: “Section 31 of the Family Law Act 1995 provides that the minimum legal age at which people can get married in Ireland is 18. However, section 33 allows a couple to apply to the court for an exemption from this rule where one or both are aged under 18. Section 2(2) of the Civil Registration Act 2004 has maintained the facility to apply for this exemption.
“We are concerned that keeping this exemption in place may facilitate the practice of forced marriages, as it may lead to young girls being coerced into entering marriages. The issue of pressure being put on girls who are minors in law to get married before they reach 18 has been highlighted in many countries. International human rights bodies have agreed that 18 is the appropriate minimum age for marriage, and Article 16.2 of the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) prohibits child marriage. UN reports show that since 1994, more than 158 countries have passed legislation raising the minimum age of marriage to 18 years.“In this context, we are asking that the Government would consider removing or amending the provision for an exemption from the minimum legal age of 18 for marriage. We look forward to a good debate on this issue this afternoon in the Seanad.”
Text of Motion:
That Seanad Eireann: - notes the need to ensure adequate protection of children and of children’s rights in our laws, and in particular to ensure that children are not coerced or forced into ‘arranged’ marriages; - notes that sections 31 and 33 of the Family Law Act 1995 allow exemptions from the normal rule that parties to a legal marriage must be over 18; and that the possibility of seeking this exemption by way of court order was retained in section 2(2) of the Civil Registration Act 2004; - notes further that this exemption was criticised by the High Court in a judgment in June 2013 in a case concerning an ‘arranged’ marriage; - proposes that the Government would consider whether to remove or amend the statutory provision allowing minors to marry on the basis of a court exemption.