Monday, December 12, 2005


Age of consent change mooted

I see Justice Minister Michael McDowell is considering changing the age of sexual consent in Ireland.

Reports this morning said the minister was worried that the current law on the matter did not reflect reality, but was also wary of making any changes.

His move to examine the situation follows a recent court case in Co Galway in which a man admitted to the statutory rape of his girlfriend when she was 15 and he was 19.

The couple, who are in a stable relationship, later had a baby and both their mothers were in court to support them.The presiding judge gave an 11-month suspended sentence to the accused and also fined him €100.

Under Irish law, a man can be jailed for five years for having sex with a girl under the age of 17 years, while sex with a girl under the age of 15 carries a sentence of up to life in prison. However, the age of consent for boys is currently just 15, so if two 16-year-olds had sex, the boy would be committing a crime and the girl would not.

I do think a change of the law is required. I find it extraordinary that we can have one law for males and another for females! It reflects a bizarre trend in society where a teenage boy who beds a twentysomething woman is seen as a hero, whilst a teenage girl who beds a twentysomething man is to have been taken advantage of.

Let's have equal laws for men and women. The age of consent for boys is currently 15 and the age of consent for girls is currently 17.

I think the age of consent should be put at 16 years for both boys and girls. What are your own thoughts on the matter?


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