Figures lead registrar to raise concerns over sham marriages

Concerns have been raised about a rise in sham marriages, with figures showing almost half of couples involving a non-Irish EU citizen and a non-EU citizen who gave notice of their intention to marry last year did not go ahead with their nuptials.

The scale of the numbers not proceeding with their proposed marriage has raised concerns about the growing problem at attempts to arrange marriages of convenience here.

Only 841 out of 1,585 proposed marriages involving a non-Irish EU partner and a non-EU citizen proceeded as intended last year, according to figures published by the General Register Office. It represents just 53% of all couples who had issued notification of intention to marry.

Pakistanis account for the biggest number of marriages involving a non-Irish EU citizen and non-EU citizen last year (396) followed by citizens from Brazil (126), India (125), Bangladesh (73) and Venezuela (49).

The registrar general, Kieran Feely said the figures suggested there was “a significant problem” with the issue of marriages of convenience. Mr Feely said anecdotal evidence suggested the increase in the number of civil marriages in recent years was partly accounted for by marriages of convenience.

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