Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) has welcomed comments made by Justice Minister Alan Shatter on the need to improve legal provision for gay parents and their children with new legislation.

Speaking at an LGBT reception on Wednesday, Mr Shatter confirmed that the Irish government would bring forward new legislation to secure “equal citizenship for lesbian and gay parents”.

Mr Shatter announced a comprehensive Family Relationships and Children Bill, to be enacted by the end of 2013, which will provide for relationships of guardianship, custody and access for children in lesbian and gay headed families.

The proposed bill will also provide greater financial security for the children of same-sex parents by addressing maintenance and inheritance rights, and issues concerning assisted human reproduction.

In response, the chair of GLEN Kieran Rose said: “This is great news for lesbian and gay couples who are parenting children. One of the most urgent issues for these parents is the lack of legal certainty for their families and the lack of protection and security for their children.

“The reforms the minister outlined this evening will transform the status of these families, and secure for their children the range of protections and supports available to children in other families.”