Ireland prohibits corporal punishment of children

12 November 2015

Good news from the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children. A recent press release reads

“Ireland has joined the list of countries outlawing all corporal punishment of children in all settings, including the home. On 11 November 2015, the Irish Parliament adopted legislation explicitly repealing the common law defence of “reasonable chastisement” of children, making Ireland the 20th European Union state to achieve prohibition of corporal punishment, the 29th Council of Europe member state, and the 47th state worldwide. The achievement of law reform comes after more than a decade of mounting human rights pressure on Ireland to repeal the defence and give children equal protection from assault. Speaking during the report and final stages debate in the Seanad, Senator Jillian van Turnhout, who tabled the original amendment, stated:

"This ancient defence of reasonable chastisement is not an Irish invention. It came to us from English common law. Through its colonial past, England has been responsible for rooting this legal defence in over 70 countries and territories throughout the world. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the reasonable punishment defence still allows parents and some other carers to justify common assault on children. In Scotland, there is another variation, namely the defence of justifiable assault. In this action being taken today, the Government is putting children first and providing leadership, which will hopefully give confidence to the Government at Westminster, the devolved UK Administrations and other countries across the globe to discard these archaic and disreputable defences and give full respect to the dignity of children…. With this amendment we have a way to unite and agree that all citizens are equal. There must never be a defence for violence against children.”