AN Irish law from the 1950's has stood in the way of an Irish mum getting an Irish passport for her newborn son.
A newlywed Donegal woman who has had a baby with her wife in the UK through IVF, has been denied an Irish passport for her 11-week-old son because of her gender.
Katie Gallagher, 34, received a letter from the Irish Passport Office stating that her son Griffin would not be granted an Irish passport, because she is technically not considered either his mother or father under Irish law, despite Katie’s own fertilized egg being implanted in her wife’s womb as part of an IVF process.
Katie’s UK-born wife Holly Groombridge, 31, gave birth to Griffin last August, following two previous failed attempts at IVF. As a result, she is automatically listed as the mother on the birth cert, leaving Katie to be recognized under the heading of “parent”.
After Griffin was born on August 18th, Katie immediately applied for a passport for her son.
The Passport Office replied with a letter to Katie’s request, explaining that; “for the purposes of Irish law and in particular in this case, for the purposes of the 1956 Act, a parent is understood to mean either the ‘mother’ or ‘father’ of the child.”
“For the purposes of Irish law, the mother of a child is the person who gives birth to the child or a female adopter of the child. In this case, as Ms. Groombridge gave birth to your son, she is, therefore, regarded as the mother for the purposes of Irish law.
“As Ms Groombridge is not an Irish citizen, your son, Griffin, cannot be regarded as an Irish citizen.”
Katie, who was born in Gweedore, Co. Donegal, but was raised in Ashbourne, Co. Meath, is determined to fight tooth and nail for her son’s right to an Irish passport.
Since both Katie and Holly began highlighting this issue, they have been contacted by numerous same-sex couples in the UK who also cannot get an Irish passport for their children because of the Irish laws.
“We are just so frustrated and heartbroken that we can’t get an Irish passport for our son because of an antiquated law passed in 1956.”
“The 1956 law still remains and because of that, I’ve been denied the right to give my son an Irish passport and bring him home under the Irish passport and bring him home under the Irish banner to see his grandparents in Ashbourne and all his family.”