List of Peace Commissioners and their contact details

On becoming an unmarried father you do not have guardianship, as a consequence you have no legal rights to your child.* It is essential for all unmarried fathers to realise this and more importantly go about getting guardianship. Guardianship means having the right and responsibility to be involved in making major decisions about the upbringing of a child, for example:

  • where the child lives, in Ireland or abroad
  • consent to medical treatment
  • passport applications
  • religion of the child
  • where the child goes to school
  • consent to adoption
Steps to obtaining Guardianship
A father who is not married to the child’s mother can become a guardian by:

Step1. Swearing an agreement with the mother. This is a Statutory Instrument, S.I. No. 5 of
1998, and is available here or from Government Publications, 01-6476834.

Watch a video HERE! on how to complete the form.


Step 2.Going to the local District Court to apply to be appointed a guardian. A father only
needs to do this where the mother does not agree to the father becoming a guardian.

*It is important to note that even though a father may be on the child/rens birth certificate that this in no way grants or bestows guardianship on the father. Guardianship is a completely seperate process and must be applied for in its own right. The following link will show you how to go about registering a birth and how to apply for a birth certificate 

It is also important to note that even though you may not be a guardian to your child you can still apply to a court for legal access so as that your child can have contact with you (see part 11(4) of link).

List of Peace Commissioners and their contact details
List of Peace Commissioners, by County, with Contact details supplied by the Peace Commissioners unit, Department of Justice , Equality and Law Reform.

1.How to get Guardianship by agreement

Download or Printout a copy of SI5 HERE! and get the declaration sworn in by yourself and your child’s mother by a peace commisioner or a commisioner for Oaths.Your local Garda station should be able to give you the name and address of a Peace Commissioner in your area

On section 4, page 2 of the form make sure to strike out the word “access”, otherwise you will be conceeding some legal rights!

NOTE: Make two copies of the signed Statutory Declaration, one for the mother and one for the father. Keep the document in a SAFE place as there is no register or record of this document kept by any official office. If you lose it then there will be no record of your being a Guardian.If there is more than one child a separate Statutory Declaration is needed for each.

2. Applying to Court for Guardianship

Where a mother will not agree to you becoming a Guardian an application can be made to court to let a Judge rule on whether you should be made a Guardian. Prior to going down the court route you must ensure that there is defintely no agreement with the mother on the issue.The good news is that 93% of applications for guardianship are successful in court.
You can represent yourself in Court or use a Solicitor to represent you. If you choose the former be sure to be well briefed on court process’s, form’s and procedure. As already stated the vast majority of Single fathers who apply for Guardianship are granted it. Once as you have a proven track record of beneficial  involvement with your child, in terms of direct regular contact and child maintenance provided for, most Judges will grant it. The Court Application form for Guardianship is here.

How to register a birth

PE Call for Observations on Guardianship Bill 2010
Deputy Kathleen Lynch of the Labour Party has moved the Guardianship of Children Bill, 2010 through the first stage in the Dail on the 01/04/2010. Parental Equality are now calling for your observations on this Bill to go towards a Parental Equality submission on the Bill.

Recent related Media links
Read recent articels and discussions about Unmarried Fathers’ Issues

Guardianship and School Radio Interview Luke Martin and John Hayden
As September begins and all the kids go back to school once again unmarried fathers who are NOT Guardians of their children have no connection or rights to the schooling and education of their children. Luke Martin and John Hayden discuss this issue and explain how to get guardianship on Dundalk FM100

Prevention of the removal of a child from the jurisdiction of the state

Q. Can a Child be removed permanently from Ireland without the consent of both Guardians?

How to fill out the Guardianship Form

Guardianship in the Irish Constitution Article 42.1