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Legislation could help families of missing people

Wednesday, 4th July, 2018 4:15pm

It’s hoped that new legislation to help the families of missing people will come into effect later this year.

In cases where a person remains missing, and it is clear from all evidence available that they have died, there is no legal procedure available to allow for their estate to be managed.

Their families and friends are unable to take any action in respect of the person’s affairs. A death certificate cannot be issued, life insurance policies will not be processed and no decisions can be made in respect of the assets of the person’s estate.

Fine Gael Cork North Central Senator, Colm Burke, has outlined how his new legislation will aid the families of missing persons in overcoming the legal difficulties they currently face.

The records of the Missing Persons Bureau of An Garda Síochána show that almost 26 people are reported missing every day, amounting to over 9,000 missing person reports annually.

While in the vast majority of cases the person who has been thought to be missing turns up safe some do not.

Senator Burke said: “The Missing Persons Bill 2016, which I published in July of that year, is designed to assist the families of missing persons in dealing with the management of the missing person’s estate. I believe we need to be as understanding and compassionate to people who have suffered this trauma. “I am delighted that my Missing Persons Bill has now passed the Seanad and will hopefully become law later this year.”

He added: “The Bill has passed all stages in the Seanad and is now at Final Stage, and I would like to see it complete its passage through the Oireachtas by the end of the year so families can get the assistance they need.”

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