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Total ban on smacking children under consideration by Government

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has said an outright prohibition of all corporal punishment is an option.

THE GOVERNMENT IS considering an outright ban on parents smacking their children, Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has confirmed.

The measure – under which all corporal punishment within the home would be completely forbidden – is one of a number of options being examined by the Department. The Children’s Ombudsman has previously called on the Government to ban physical punishment.

Currently, parents can use a defence of “reasonable chastisement” if any legal issues arise.

Responding to a Dáil question, Minister Fitzgerald said no specific proposal to ban smacking had been outlined, but the matter was “under continuous review”.

She said that any outright prohibition would have possible constitutional implications, as the family is given special protection in the Constitution, adding:

I am encouraged that recent research in this area indicates that the practice of corporal punishment itself is declining in Ireland with 88 per cent of parents opting for other non violent means of correction and in due course the timing may be right to bring forward new proposals.

According to the Irish Times, corporal punishment of children is completely outlawed in 18 of the 47 Council of Europe nations.

In 2005, the Council’s European Committee of Social Rights ruled that Ireland was breaching its international human rights obligations by failing to ban smacking entirely.

What do you think? Should all corporal punishment of children be banned?

Poll Results:

No (930)
Yes (437)
I don't know (93)

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