Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has announced that she has signed the Commencement Order for the Gender Recognition Act 2015.

It will enable transgender people to be formally recognised in their preferred gender for all purposes by the State for the first time.

The Tánaiste said that from next Tuesday, it will be open to any transgender person to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate and subsequently to obtain a new birth certificate that reflects their preferred gender. 

Ms Burton said this marks a hugely significant and historic day for the transgender community, for their families, friends and for all of Irish society.

She said "I am particularly happy that we are in a position to immediately provide this recognition to transgender people regardless of their marital status.   

"The Commencement Order, which I have signed, specifically excludes those elements of the legislation which required that applicants for gender recognition be single. 

"I was able to do so because the President has very recently signed the results of the Marriage Equality Referendum into law."

The application form for the Gender Recognition Certificate will be available for download from the department's website from Tuesday, together with further background information. 

The form can also be obtained through the post by contacting Client Identity Services, Department of Social Protection, Shannon Lodge, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, N41 KD81 or by phone at 071 9672659.