Notary Public

Notary Public for the County and City of Limerick

notary-publicDavid J. Sweeney

David J. Sweeney was appointed as Notary Public by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Ireland in 2011. David is a founding Partner of Sweeney McGann Solicitors and has over 30 years experience in law. He was appoined as Commissioner for Oaths in 1988.

What is a Notary Public?

A Notary Public is a public officer constituted by law to serve the public in non-contentious matters usually concerned with foreign or international business.

Make an Appointment

Contact David J. Sweeney by email or by telephone.
Tel: 061 418277 / 061 317533
Email: dsweeney@sweeneymcgann.com

Alternatively you can contact Jaki Sadlier.
Tel: 061 418277 / 061 317533
Email: jsadlier@sweeneymcgann.com

What are the functions of a Notary?

A Notary Public is empowered by law and by custom and usage of notaries through the ages to;

  • Administer Oaths
  • Attest Signatures
  • Authenticate Documents
  • Give Notarial Acts
  • Take Affidavits (other than for the courts in Ireland)
  • Take Affirmations and Declarations
  • Receive and Make Protests under Mercantile Law, and issue notarial certificates in respect of documents and persons.
  • Draw up Powers of Attorney and other legal documents customarily prepared by Notaries Public

The acts of Notaries Public have worldwide recognition.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a document signed by one person (usually called the ‘donor’) giving another person (usually called the ‘donee’ or the ‘attorney’) power to sign documents on the donor’s behalf and to do such things in relation to his or her affairs as are described specifically (a limited power) or generally (a general power) in the document.

If, for instance, you are buying, selling or mortgaging property in a foreign country, it may be convenient for you to give a Power of Attorney to a person in that country, usually a lawyer, to deal with the transaction on your behalf. This will save you having to travel abroad to attend to formalities, and may help to smoothen out any problems affecting the transaction generally. In most cases, you will be required to sign the Power of Attorney in front of a Notary Public.

The Power of Attorney will usually be drawn up by the foreign lawyer to whom authority is to be given. This is because an Irish Notary Public cannot be expected to have knowledge of different foreign languages or to be familiar with the relevant formalities regarding Powers of Attorney in different countries.

You will usually receive the Power of Attorney by e-mail from the foreign lawyer, often accompanied by detailed instructions about signing it. Bring the e-mail with you to the Irish Notary. This will assist the Notary Public in complying with the formalities of the particular country for which the Power of Attorney is intended. You should also ask the foreign lawyer (or the person appointed Attorney) if it is necessary to have the document ‘Legalised’ or Apostilled. These are different forms of official verification of signatures which the Notary Public will explain to you if necessary.

Powers of Attorney are important legal documents with potentially serious legal and financial consequences for the persons signing them. It is important, therefore, that you have competent advice as to the legal, financial and taxation implications of any intended foreign transaction and as regards the wisdom of giving a Power of Attorney to a foreign lawyer or other person whom you may never have met. As the Notary Public is neither the draftsman of the foreign Power of Attorney nor your legal adviser, it is a matter for you to have any foreign language document, which you intend to produce, properly translated before going to the Notary.

The Notary before whom you appear will require your assurance that you understand the document and its purpose and may require you to sign a formal acknowledgement to this effect. The Notary will however ensure that all other formalities regarding the execution of the Power of Attorney are complied with such as establishing identity and legal capacity, attesting your signature and providing a notarial act.

Apostille

An Apostille is a certificate issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs verifying the genuineness of the signature and/or seal of a public officer e.g. a Notary Public, on a public document and the capacity in which he or she has acted. It is sometimes referred to as a “fast-track” version of legalisation.

The Apostille certificate may be stamped on or attached to the public document required to be apostilled. It is obtained by presenting the document at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Hainault House, 67-71 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 and paying the appropriate consular fee.

The Apostille procedure applies in lieu of Legalisation between countries that have signed and ratified or acceded to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961. Ireland ratified the Convention in 1999.
Other countries in which the Apostille procedure applies may be checked on the the Hague Convention website, where a list of countries adhering to the Apostille system abolishing the need for legalisation, and also those countries not Hague Convention Countries Adhering or likely also on the Department of Foreign Affairs webpage.

Legalisation

Legalisation (in some countries spelled ‘Legalization’) is an internationally recognised procedure for certifying the authenticity of official signatures and/or official seal applied to a public document. It operates by means of an unbroken chain of verifying signatures commencing with that of the first signatory to the document and ending with the signature of the diplomatic or consular representative of the state in which the document is to produced and acted upon.

The legalisation procedure usually commences with the attestation by a Notary Public of the signature of a person to a formal document e.g. a Power of Attorney. The Notary Public having subscribed his or her name and affixed his or her official seal to the document by way of notarial act arranges for the document to be produced to the Registrar of the Supreme Court for the purpose of having the Notary’s signature and official seal verified.

The document is then produced at the Consular Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin for the purpose of having the signature of the Supreme Court Registrar verified and finally it is produced to the diplomatic or consular representative in Dublin (or London) of the foreign country in which it is intended the document shall be produced for the purpose of having the Irish Consular Officer’s signature legalised.

When all the foregoing steps have been completed, the document is said to have been legalised.
Other countries in which the Apostille procedure applies may be checked on the the Hague Convention website, where a list of countries adhering to the Apostille system abolishing the need for legalisation, and also those countries not Hague Convention Countries Adhering or likely also on the Department of Foreign Affairs webpage.

Click Here to read about the history of the Office of Notary Public or visit www.notarypublic.ie.

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