Government states “firm intention” to enact Gender Recognition Bill as Lydia Foy case settled

28 October 2014

Apr 2009 - Micheal Farrell and Lydia Foy

The landmark and long-running Lydia Foy transgender legal case has been settled today following a Government commitment that it is its “firm intention” to introduce a Gender Recognition Bill in the Oireachtas and have it enacted “as soon as possible” in 2015.

Dr Foy’s case was due for hearing on 4 November next, but was taken out of the list today when Nicholas Butler SC, counsel for the State, told the High Court that it was the Government’s “expressed intention” to enact legislation that would allow Dr Foy to obtain a birth certificate reflecting her female gender.

He said the Government intended to publish the Gender Recognition Bill by the end of the year and added: “It is the firm intention of the Government to introduce the Bill into the Oireachtas and have it enacted as soon as possible in 2015”.

Based on this commitment, Bill Shipsey SC, counsel for Dr Foy, said the case should be taken out of the list for hearing on 4 November but should be listed for mention again on 29 January 2015.

FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) has represented Dr Foy throughout her lengthy legal struggle. FLAC Senior Solicitor Michael Farrell said this was a welcome, if overdue, conclusion to 17 years of litigation by Dr Foy just to get herself recognised in the gender she has lived in every day for the last 24 years.  He noted it was also a major step forward for the transgender community in the State, who have been waiting for legal recognition for many years.

Mr Farrell said Dr Foy was very pleased at this agreement which ended 21 years of fruitless correspondence with state agencies and lengthy litigation just to get a birth certificate showing her female gender.



Editors’ notes:

  1. FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) is a human rights organisation which exists to promote equal access to justice for all. As an NGO, FLAC relies on a combination of statutory funding, contributions from the legal professions and donations from individuals and grant-making foundations to support its work.
  2. We offer basic legal information through our telephone information line and free legal advice through a network of 80 volunteer evening advice centres. FLAC also campaigns on a range of issues including personal debt, fairness in social welfare law, public interest law and civil legal aid.
  3. You can read the revised text of the General Scheme of the Gender Recognition Bill 2014.
  4. FLAC’s submission on the previous draft bill from September 2013 also available.
  5. Together with other concerned organisations and individuals, FLAC presented its concerns around the previous draft Bill to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education & Social Protection in October 2013. Summarised, these were that the scheme proposed would force transgender people already in loving and committed married relationships to divorce their partners before applying for gender recognition; that it did not recognise transgender children under 18 years; that there was an over-reliance on medical certification; and that the draft Bill should include provision for legal sanction in cases of discrimination of transgendered people by way of including a new discrimination ground of gender identity. You can read a transcript of the presentations online 
  6. You can read the Joint Oireachtas Committee report from January 2014 on the previous version of the draft Bill
  7. You can download a comprehensive briefing note on the Foy case (Feb 2013).  A press release on the issuing of new proceedings in the Foy case is online.