Ireland found to breach European legislation on smacking

Ireland’s laws on smacking children have been found to be in breach of European legislation.

In a ruling issued this morning, the Council of Europe said corporal punishment of children is not prohibited in a sufficiently clear, binding and precise manner under Irish legislation or case-law.

As it stands, Corporal punishment is outlawed in our schools, but parents can defend smacking their children in court as "reasonable chastisement".

Ireland found to breach European legislation on smacking

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the Government will comply with the ruling, but she does not believe we are behind the rest of Europe in protecting children.

"We don't have a specific prohibition," she said, "but we do have a potential charge that can be made … we want to be fully in compliance.

"Minister Reilly is currently bringing forward further guidelines relating to children in residential care or childcare setting to prohibit … corporal punishment."

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