Ireland - Age of Consent to Sexual Activity
[Cool Teen Sites]
Subject: 1) What should I call it?
The island is called Ireland, but it is divided into two
jurisdictions. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom,
governed from London. The remainder of the island is a separate
state, the Republic of Ireland, with its government in Dublin.
The Constitution of Ireland (Bunreacht na hEireann) states in
Article 4. "The name of the State is Éire, or in the English
language, Ireland". (See Q.11 in part one for why this is not
a hard rule, though.)
"Ireland" is ambiguous: it may refer to the island or to the
part governed from Dublin. You may want to say "the island of
Ireland" to avoid this ambiguity.
The following are synonyms in common usage. Some of these terms
are politically loaded: the first in each list is the best
choice if you want to make yourself clear (without committing
yourself to a particular political view).
Northern Ireland; Ulster; the North; the Six Counties
Republic of Ireland; Ireland; the South; the Twenty Six
Counties; the Free State
Subject: 10) Wasn't homosexuality banned in Ireland?
Homosexual acts were illegal in Ireland up until the summer of
1993. The Offences against the Person Act lifted the ban, and
declared the age of consent to be 17, the same as that for
acts between heterosexuals.
IRELAND LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 17 for homosexual
males regarding anal and oral sex, 15 for lesbians, and for heterosexuals oral sex is
legal at age 15.
2. Incitement of Hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation is illegal.
3. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination, including
employment. Religious institutions are
exempted in instances where it conflicts with their teachings. Sexual orientation is also
a categorie protected from
discrimination in provision of goods, services (including education) and
accommodations (including membership in private
clubs), whether by private or government entities (including health boards). Those
who feel they have experienced unequal
treatment can file a complaint with the Director of Equality Investigations, a
government entity established under the
Employment Equality Act, which can issue orders to be enforced by the courts.
4. The Censorship of Publications Board banned the book, Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin,
a childrens book about a girl living with her father and his male lover. The book was on
sale for 7 years before being banned.
5. Citizens can only adopt a child if they are legally married, widowed or
judicially separated people.
Ireland - Irlande - Irlanda
I. Ages for legal purposes
Age of simple majority Section 2 of the Age of Majority Act, 1985 provides
that a person attains the full legal age when he
attains the age of eighteen (18) years, or in case where he marries before attaining that
age, upon his marriage.
Age of consent for sexual activity
The legal age at which a person is currently competent to consent to sexual intercourse is
currently seventeen (17) years.
Age of consent for marriage
Section 31 of the Family Law Act, 1995 provides that a marriage between persons either of
under the age of eighteen (18) years shall not be valid in law.
Sexual intercourse involving violence
Sexual intercourse with a child involving the use of violence is dealt with by the
following legislation :
(i) Section 2 of the Criminal Law (Rape) Act, 1981 provides for the offence of rape,
which is sexual intercourse by a man with a woman who does not consent to it.
This may be committed with a female of any age.
(ii) Rape under Section 4 of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act, 1990.
III. Other forms of child sex abuse
Sexual intercourse without violence
Sexual Intercourse with girls under the age of seventeen (17) years is rendered criminal
by the following legislation :
(i) Section 1 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1935 provides that it is an
offence punishable by a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life to have unlawful
carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of fifteen (15) years.
(ii) Section 2 of the Criminal Law Act, 1935 provides that it is an offence
punishable by five years imprisonment to have unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl
aged between fifteen (15) and seventeen (17) years.
In both these cases neither consent on the part of the female or mistake on the
part of the male as to
her age will afford any defence.
Section 3 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act, 1993 provides that it is an offence
to commit an
act of buggery with any person under the age of seventeen (17) years. Consent does not
defence to a charge of buggery with a person under this age.
Sexual intercourse with a child within the family
The Punishment of Incest Act, 1908, creates the crime of incest, which may be committed by
who has carnal knowledge of a female who is his mother, sister, daughter or granddaughter.
primary purpose of the Act is to outlaw sexual intercourse between certain blood relatives
There is no specific legislation in this jurisdiction dealing with sexual intercourse with
committed by a teacher or other person having authority over the child.
Other forms of sexual abuse
(i) Section 2 of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act, 1990 provides for an offence
sexual assault, which is an indecent assault upon any person.
(ii) Section 3 of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment ) Act, 1990 provides for the offence
aggravated sexual assault which is a sexual assault that involves serious violence to the
IV. Child prostitution
Section 16 of the Children Act, 1908, as amended by Section 11 of the Criminal Law
Act, 1935 provides that it is an offence for any person to allow a child between the ages
of four (4)
and seventeen (17) years to reside in or frequent a brothel.
(i) It is an offence under Section 17 of the 1908 Act, as amended by Section 11 of
the 1935 Act for a person having custody of care of a girl under the age of
seventeen (17) years to cause or encourage the seduction, prostitution or unlawful
carnal knowledge of her.
(ii) Section 3 of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998, which prohibits
child trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, includes in the meaning of
sexual exploitation, not only pornography, but also prostitution. The Act of 1998
provides that it is an offence punished by imprisonment for life, for any person to
organise or knowingly facilitate the entry into, transit through or exit from the
State of a child for the purpose of his or her sexual exploitation as well as the
provision of accomodation for such a purpose. Any person who takes, detains,
restricts the personal liberty of a child for the purpose of his or her sexual
exploitation, uses a child for such a purpose, or organises or knwingly facilitates
such taking, detaining, restricting or use shall be liable on conviction on
indicment to imprisonment to a term not exceeding 14 years ."
V. Child pornography
The Irish Constitution, Art. 40(6)(1)(i) decrees that " the publication or utterance
matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law. "
The principle act dealing with the welfare of children is the Child Care Act, 1991 which
child as a person under the age of eighteen (18) years other than a person who is or who
The Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998 july is dealing specifically with the
child pornography. It gives in the Section 2 ss(1) a definition of child pornography :
" Child pornography means : a) any visual representation
¬ that shows or in a case of a document, relates to person who is or is depicted as being
a child and who is engaged in or is depicted as being engaged in explicit sexual
that shows or in the case of a document, relates to a person who is or is depicted as
being a child and who is or is depicted as witnessing any such activities by any person or
whose dominant characteristic is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of the genital or
anal region of a child,
any audio representration of a person who is or is being represented as a child and
who is engaged in or is represented as being engaged in explicit sexual activities,
any visual or audio representration that advocates, encourages or counsels any
sexual activity with children which is an offence under any enactment, or
any visual representation or desciption of, or information related to, a child that
indicates or implies that the child is available to be used for the purpose of sexual
exploitation within the meaning of Section 3, irrespective of how or through what
medium the representation, description or information has been produced,
transmitted or conveyed and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing,
includes any representation, description or information produced by or from
computer-graphics or by any other mechanical means but does not include :
any book or periodical publication which has been examined by the Censorship of
Publications Board and in respect of which a prohibition order under the
Censorship of Publications Acts, 1929 to 1967, is not for the time being in force,
any film in respect of which a general certificate or a limited certificate under the
Censorship of Films Acts, 1923 to 1993, is in force, or
any video work in respect of which a supply certificate under the video recording
acts, 1989 and 1992, is in force¼ "
In the following subparagraphs, the Act gives a list and a definition of all the mediums
that could be
used for representing child pornography (documents, visual representation¼ ).
The section 3 is related to sexual exploitation. In this section, 1998s Act
describes the actions
considered as child trafficking and taking in the purpose of a sexual exploitation :
Section 3 ss(1) " Any person who organises or knowingly facilitates ¾
the entry into, transit through or exit from the State of child for the purpose of his or
exploitation or the provision of accomodation for a child for such a purpose while in the
¾ shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on indicment to
imprisonment for life. "
Section 3 ss(2) " Any person who ¾
takes, detains, or restricts the personal liberty of a child for the purpose of his or her
uses a child for such a purpose, or
organises or knowingly facilitates such taking, detaining, restricting or use,
¾ shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on convicton on indicment to
imprisonment for term
not exceeding 14 years. "
The definition of sexual exploitation is given in Section 3 ss(3). According to this
exploitation means " ¼ inducing or coercicing the child to engage in prostitution or
the production of
child pornography, using the child for prostitution or the production of child
pornography, inducing or
coercicing the child to participate in any sexual activity which is an offence under any
enacment, or the
commission of any such offence against the child. "
Section 4 deals with the liability of the persons having the custody, charge or care of a
child and allowing
him or her to be used for pornography :
Section 4 ss(1) "¼ any person who, having the custody, charge or care of a child,
allows the child to
be used for the production of child pornography shall be guilty of an offence and shall be
conviction of indicment to a fine not exceeding £25,000 or to imprisonment to a term not
years or both
ss(2) §(a) " ¼ any person who is the parent or guardian of a child or who is liable
to maintain a child
shall be presumed to have the custody of the childand, as between parents, one parent
shall not be
deemed to have ceased to have the custody of a child by reason only that he or she has
deserted, or does
not reside with, the other parent and child,
ss(2) §(b) " any person to whose charge a child is committed by any person who has
the custody of a
child shall be presumed to have the charge of the child, and "
ss(2) §(c) " any person exercising authority over or having actual control of a
child shall be presumed to
have care of the child ."
The sections 5 and 6 concern the production, the distribution and the possession of child
Section 5 ss(1) " ¼ any person who ¾
a.knowingly produces, distributes, prints or publishes any child pornography,
b.knowingly imports, exports, sells, or shows any child pornography,
c.knowingly publishes or distributes any advertisement likely to be understood as
conveying that the
advertiser or any other person produces, distributes, prints, publishes, imports, exports,
sells or shows
any child pornography,
d.encourages or knowingly causes or facilitates any activity mentionned in a), b) or c),
e.knowingly possesses any child pornography for the purpose of distributing, publishing,
selling, or showing it,
¾ shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable
f.on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,500 or to imprisonment for a term not
months or both, or
g.on conviction on indicment to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14
years or both. "
Section 6 prohibits the possession of child pornography : " ¼ any person who
knowingly possesses any
child pornography shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable ¾
h.on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,500 or to imprisonment for a term not
i.on conviction of indicment to a fine not exceeding £5,000 or to imprisonment for a term
not exceeding 5
years or both. "
(1) Vagrancy Act, 1824.
Section 4 of the act provides that every person wilfully exposing to view in any public
obscene print, picture or other indecent exhibition shall be guilty of an offence which
penalty of 3 months imprisonment on conviction.
(2) Towns Improvement Ireland Act, 1854.
Section 72 provides that any persons who in any street, in a town where the act applies,
who to the
annoyance of the residents shall publicly offer for sale or distribution, or exhibit to
public view, any
profane indecent or obscene book, paper, print or drawing shall be guilty of an offence
carries penalty of £2.
(3) Customs Consolidation Act, 1876.
Section 42 of the act provides that Indecent or obscene prints, paintings, photographs,
cards etc. or
any other indecent or obscene article being imported or brought into the state may be
seized by the
(4) The Indecent Advertisements Act, 1889.
Section 3 of the Act creates an offence of exhibiting indecent or obscene pictures or
in a shop window or affixing indecent material in any place where it its visible to the
offence carries a penalty of £10.
(5) The Post Office Act, 1908.
Section 63(1)(b) of the Act provides that a person shall not send or attempt to send a
which encloses any indecent or obscene print, painting, photograph etc. or any indecent or
obscene article. Contravention of this section is a misdemeanour. Penalty (i) on summary
- £10 fine or (ii) conviction on indictment - 12 months imprisonment.
(6) Censorship of Films Acts 1923 to 1992.
The 1923 Act establishes the office of official Censor of Films and a Censorship of Films
Board. Section 5(1) of the act provides that " no film shall be exhibited in public
by means of a
cinematograph or similar apparatus unless and until the Official Censor has certified that
whole of such is fit for exhibition in public "
There is provision for an appeal against refusal by the censor to grant a certificate and
if the Appeal
Board upholds the appeal, the Censor must grant a certificate.
The criterion on which the censor may refuse a certificate is given by Section 7(2) as his
" Such picture or some part hereof is unfit for general exhibition in public by
reason of its being
indecent, obscene or blasphemous or because the exhibition thereof in public would tend to
inculcate principles contrary to public morality, or would be otherwise subversive of
The Censorship of Publications (Amendment) Act, 1970 provides that a fresh application may
made for a certificate not less than 7 years after a decision has been made in respect of
(7) The Censorship of Publication Act, 1929 to 1967.
The Censorship of Publications Act, 10929 prohibits the sale exposure, or importation of
indecent picture (s.18) while The Censorship of Publications Act, 19846 makes it an
offence to sell
or distribute any book or publications prohibited by the Censorship Board.
(8) Video Recordings Act, 1989 Act and 1992.
Section 3(3) of the 1989 Act empowers the Censor to make a prohibition order in respect of
video which in his opinion is unfit for viewing. Where such an order is made, it is an
possess such a video for the purpose of supplying it to another ; to exhibit it elsewhere
then in a
private dwelling, or to import it into the State without a permit.
By virtue of Section 3(1) of the Act, a video is unfit for viewing if :
(a) the viewing of it (iii) would tend, by reason of the inclusion in it of obscene or
indecent matter, to deprave or corrupt persons who might view it ; or
(b) it depicted acts of gross violence or cruelty towards humans or animals.
(9) Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act, 1994
Section 7 of the act provides that it shall be an offence for any person to distribute or
display in a
public place any material which is threatening, abusive, insulting or obscene with intent
a breach of the peace or being reckless as to whether one may be occasioned.
Sexual Offences (Jurisdiction) Act, 1996
In order to extend the Criminal law of the State to sexual acts involving children done
State by citizens of the State or by persons ordinarily resident in the State (the
conditions are to
have his or her principal residence within the State for a period of 12 months immediately
the commission of the offence Section 2 ss 7), the Sexual Offences Act 1996 provides that
being a citizen of the State , does an act or attempt to do an act, in a place other than
the State ,
against or involving a child which -
constitutes an offence under the law of the place, and
if done within the State, would constitute an offence under or referred to in,
an enactment specified in the Schedule of this Act,
-he or she shall be guilty of the second mentionned offence.
Offences, according to this Act are :
1.to aid, to abet, to counsel or to procure, in the State or outside the State for a
person being a citizen of the State, the commission of an offence (Section 2
2.to conspire, to incite, in the State or outside the State, another person to
commit an offence (Section 2 ss 5,6).
3.to transport a person in the State or outside the State for purposes of
enabling the commission of an offence (Section 3 ss 1,2).
4.to publish informations likely to promote, advocate or incite the commission
of an offence (Section 4)
The 1996s Act includes also offences which would be committed by body corporates
The penalties required for the dispositions of Section 3, 4, 5 are : for a summary
conviction a fine not
exceeding £1,500 or an imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both, and for a conviction
indicment, a fine not exceeding £10,000 or an imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5
years or both.