Civil marriage ceremonies shouldn’t be organised just to suit regular office hours, according to Clare TD Michael McNamara.
“It is no longer acceptable that people wishing to marry in a registry office should be confined to a ‘Monday to Friday office hours’ ceremony,” the Clare Labour deputy said.
“Following the historic vote on same-sex marriage at the weekend more people will now be seeking a civil marriage ceremony. I believe we should extend the hours at which a registrar is available to solemnise a ceremony, not just because same-sex couples are limited to a mid-week wedding, but so too are heterosexual couples who do not wish to have a religious wedding ceremony,” he added.
“It is only fair that couples can marry at a time and venue of their choosing. People should have the right to marry at the weekend and celebrate this special occasion with family and friends. Currently those wishing to marry in a registrar office, or have their marriage solemnised by a registrar at another venue, must marry between the hours of 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday,” Deputy McNamara noted.
He suggested civil weddings would also reduce any waiting lists, lists that will get significantly longer once the people’s decision to ratify same-sex marriage passes though the Houses of the Oireachtas.
“I believe it is past time for the HSE, the body responsible for marriage registration and registrars, to extend the hours for civil weddings to include weekends. The cost incurred would be covered by the fees. Alternatively, if the HSE cannot accommodate what I believe to be a reasonable request, then it should consider allowing Peace Commissioners to perform the ceremonies,” he said.