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Making parents criminals for smacking their kids? "Totally unacceptable"

One TD is very unhappy about the proposal.

Image: Shutterstock

LUCINDA CREIGHTON HAS said proposals to criminalise parents who smack their children are “totally unacceptable”.

The Renua Ireland leader was responding to comments made by Children’s Minister James Reilly in light of an EU ruling stating that Irish smacking laws are in breach of European law.

Reilly told the News at One yesterday he would discuss removing the defence of reasonable chastisement from Irish common law – the outright banning of smacking within the family.

Reasonable chastisement has already been removed as a defence for schools and teachers in cases of corporal punishment.

Creighton is unhappy with the proposal, saying: “Mums and dads in today’s world operate under serious time and fiscal pressures.”

“Even parents who smack their children know at a deep level that striking a child, no matter how gently, represents a failure of parenting.

The notion that a parent who lightly smacks a child might be criminalised is a step too far.

Creighton said Ireland “spent many years trying to get the state out of our bedrooms in terms of telling people how to live”.

Are we now to replace the old ways with a nanny state which will be squinting into the windows of law abiding parents looking for the slightest slip up to occur so they can reach an arrest quota?

The former Fine Gael junior minister said parents “make mistakes” and need more support such as improved child care facilities and parental leave.

luc and gwen Creighton and her daughter Gwendoline Source: Photocall Ireland

“The defence of reasonable chastisement does not advocate the corporal punishment of children.

“The best way to deal with issues of such sensitivity as the smacking of children is through creating social sanctions and a culture where it is not considered acceptable,” Creighton added.

Reilly said the government doesn’t “intend reaching into everyone’s home”, adding: “Parents these days use other methods of raising their children and disciplining them.”

Yesterday June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy at Barnardos, said Ireland has “rightly come under fire for not legislating for a full ban on all forms of corporal punishment of children, including smacking children at home”.

“Our legal system doesn’t allow adults to be violent to each other so it makes no sense to allow a parent be violent to a child, especially as children are particularly vulnerable members of our society.”

Corporal punishment to be outlawed in foster care – James Reilly

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Órla Ryan

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