Time to get tough on marriage

It's high time marriage became far more inconvenient, writes Deirdre Ní Dúr.

Our Minister for Social Protection has finally got around to one of the most pressing issues facing Ireland today. Last Friday, Joan Burton announced new legislation on the issue of sham marriages. She wants to give increased powers of investigation to registrars and the Gardaí to investigate and prosecute marriages of convenience, where residency is at issue. I want to write in support of this wonderful idea, although I would perhaps suggest that she should consider going JUST A LITTLE FURTHER in order to properly purge Irish society of an evil that has lingered for centuries.

There should be a proper investigation into all sham marriages, and every marriage should be subject to rigorous examination. I don’t just mean new marriages but EVERY marriage, whether it has lasted thirty minutes or fifty years. In particular I think all previously registered marriages should be subjected to rigorous fidelity and respect testing. Any marriage in which the parties are unhappy or mismatched should be dissolved immediately.

I think the Gardaí should be empowered to hold every married person for a period of no less than 48 hours. Couples should be divided so that they cannot collude on their matrimonial account. Techniques of heat, cold, noise and sleep deprivation should be utilised to ensure that the true intentions of the parties are discovered. Lie detectors should be mandatory. We MUST discover the true intentions behind marriage. These should be compared to the proper purposes enumerated in the new legislation.

I think it sensible, that in order to support the Gardaí in pinpointing those most culpable of misuse of marriage, there should be a dedicated phone line, allowing spouses inform the authorities of any suspicions about their partner. This would cut costs, and only when we have a culture of spouses keeping their ‘better half’ honest could the regulation of marriage truly be said to have enmeshed itself into society.

Minister Burton has hit the nail on the head when she says that this whole marriage of convenience problem is massive! Marriage should be inconvenient, and any marriage of convenience, whether past, present or future, should be eliminated from the register.

I am a little disappointed at the narrowness of the Minister’s approach to marriage undertaken for residency. We all know the problem of visa marriage is miniscule when taken in the light of the much more significant issue of marriage for a residence. I think we should have an expansive definition of residence. So any understanding of sharing property or rights should be immediately eliminated. Married people should not be allowed to share residences.

Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton has done well to raise this question in such a timely fashion. This is precisely a question of protecting Irish Society. NEVER has there been as serious threat to our common values. Marriage convenience has for too long been a cancer growing on Ireland’s kidney.

This is clearly not racially motivated. We could not say that Burton is in some way playing on any form of intolerance of immigrants. Nor is this any sort of distraction from economic issues. This really is the MOST PRESSING issue in Ireland today.

WE MUST ENSURE the sanctity of marriage. The constitution demands that the “State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage.” Now, at last that special care must be properly extended with an appropriate Special Powers Act. {jathumbnailoff}

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