The ISPCC has welcomed the repeal of exemptions for child marriage included in the Domestic Violence Bill published by Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald today.
The Tánaiste said the legislation will make underage marriage “a thing of the past” and will ban forced marriages.
According to CSO figures, 387 children married at the age of 16 or 17 between 2004 and 2014 in Ireland.
Chief executive of the ISPCC, Grainia Long, says children should not be forced into marriage, but wait until they are older and more emotionally ready.
"I think it's a very good thing that we give children the freedom to make those emotional, psychological, and legal decisions around marriage at a later stage," she said.
"We're not saying that children shouldn't form relationships and young people shouldn't form relationships, it's a natural part of growing up. But leaving marriage to a later age until they're emotionally and psychologically prepared for the impact of marriage."