Eight girls under 15 gave birth at start of this year

Eight girls aged 15 years and under had a child in the first quarter of this year and for one of them, that child was her second.

The latest statistics for births, deaths, and marriages released by the CSO do not give any further background on the girls who fell into that category. However, if the babies were conceived in this country, under Irish law, the mothers would have been victims of rape or statutory rape.

As the age of consent is 17, that also applies to the 17 girls who were 16 when they had their babies in the first quarter of this year.

The figures show that, of the 17 16-year-olds who had a child in the first quarter, three were married.

At the other end of the age spectrum, there were 61 babies born to mothers over the age of 45.

There were 17,563 births registered in the first three months of this year; 8,929 boys and 8,634 girls. The total was 9% less than in the corresponding quarter of 2012 but still 12.6% higher than in 2004 when 15,599 babies were registered.

The birth rate in 2004 was higher due to the lower population. The 17,563 births in the first quarter of this year represent an annual birth rate of 15.3 per 1,000 population. That is 0.4 per 1,000 lower than in 2004.

The age of women giving birth appears to be steadily increasing. The average age in the first three months of this year was 32.1, which was 0.3 years more than the corresponding period in 2012 and 1.4 years more than the first quarter of 2004.

The average age of mothers having their first child at the start of this year was 30.2 years.

There were 6,406 births registered as outside marriage, accounting for 36.5% of all births. In 2004, the figure was 5,181 births.

The CSO found a disparity in the rates of births outside marriage depending on the part of the country. For example, in Limerick City, the percentage was 58.1%, while in Leitrim it was just 21.9%.

The CSO also said there were two births registered to same-sex couples in a civil partnership.

There were 3,642 marriages registered in the first three months of this year — 815 more than the corresponding quarter of 2012 and an increase of 887 on the number of marriages in the first quarter of 2004.

The number of civil partnerships registered in the first quarter of 2013 was 52.

Over 100 die by suicide

One boy aged under 14 was among the 103 people who lost their lives through suicide or self-harm.

According to the CSO figures on deaths in the first quarter, a further 12 people died by “events of undetermined intent”.

Of the suicide total, 88, were men. More than half of the 103 people who took their lives were under the age of 44, and 12 were aged between 15 and 24. However, the highest total — 27 — was among people aged 45 to 54.

The CSO figures reveal that 10 people died as a result of assault or homicide between January and March, among them a boy aged under 14.

There were 8,347 deaths registered in the first quarter of 2013, an increase of 4.6% compared to the first quarter of 2012.

A third of all the deaths were attributed to circulatory disease (2,797), 27.3% were attributed to malignant cancers (2,275), 13% to respiratory diseases (1,079), and 4% to “external causes” (332).

Aids claimed the lives of three men and one woman over the three months, while tuberculosis killed eight people.

The CSO said there were 55 infant deaths registered in the first quarter of 2013, an infant mortality rate of 3.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. The number of neonatal deaths (deaths of infants at ages under four weeks) was 36, a neonatal mortality rate of two deaths per 1,000 live births.

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