Two women from Bishopstown in Cork have become the first same-sex couple in the country to be legally recognised as the parents of their babies from birth.

Geraldine Rea and Niamh O'Sullivan were both registered as the parents of twin girls Réidín and Aoibhín O'Sullivan Rea on their babies' birth certs, without having to go through a court process.

The twins were born seven weeks ago.

Legal recognition for Geraldine and Niamh as parents follows the enactment last May of the final sections of the 2015 Child and Family Relationships Act.

Prior to the signing of the legislation into law, female same-sex couples had to go through a court process to re-register the birth of their children, in order for both of them to be legally recognised as the children's parents.

However, since last May, the new act recognises as parents both the birth mother and her spouse, civil partner or cohabitant, where a child was donor-conceived through donor-assisted human reproduction.

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"It's amazing. Finally it's a bit of equality," Niamh O'Sullivan told RTÉ News. "Why should we have to go to court to state that I am there if Ger was their birth mother? Why would I have to go to court? It's just much easier that I don't now have to go to court and prove myself to be their other parent - I just am!"

Geraldine gave birth to the twins having been assisted through conception and her pregnancy by the Waterstone Clinic in Cork.

"The route to parenthood for same-sex couples is already more difficult, so taking out the court proceedings for the birth certs just makes it that little bit easier for us and for everyone else to come," Geraldine said.

LGBT Ireland said the recognition was hugely significant for same-sex couples all over the country.

"It's a huge step forward in terms of rights for same sex parents - that they can have legal recognition from birth for themselves and their children," Chief Executive of LGBT Ireland Paula Fagan told RTÉ News.

"It's hugely important for children to have a legal relationship from birth with their parents, with the ones who care for them and love them on a daily basis."

However, Ms Fagan said not all same-sex couples were covered by this legislative change, and efforts would continue to secure further changes in the law for other couples.

For instance, male same-sex couples are not covered by the Children and Family Relationships Act, nor are female same-sex couples who travel to fertility clinics abroad.

She said the Government had pledged to publish an Assisted Human Reproduction Bill later this spring which, it was hoped, would address at least some of these issues.