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Ireland's laws on smacking breach European legislation


Posted by Sally O'Brien, on 27/05/2015. Ireland's laws on smacking breach European legislationTags: Education And Politics Parenting


Ireland banned corporal punishment in schools over twenty years ago but the law never extended to children being smacked at home as a form of punishment. Now, the law will be reviewed by the Irish Government following a formal complaint in February 2013 from the Uk-based 'Assocation for the Protection of All Children' which has resulted in a finding from the European Committee of Social Rights that Ireland has violated a European charter.

According to The European Committee of Social Rights,the premise under the current Irish common law defense of ‘reasonable chastisement’ that permits violence against children at home, does in fact violate European law.

According the report:

”the corporal punishment of children within the home is permitted in Ireland by virtue of the existence of the common law defence of reasonable chastisement. Although the criminal law will protect children from very serious violence within the home, it remains the fact that certain forms of violence are permitted. The Committee therefore holds that the situation is in violation of Article 17 of the Revised Charter.”

The fact that some violence on children at home may be lawful has seen the committee conclude unanimously that Irish domestic law violates the European Charter. The report concludes:

“Therefore, the Committee finds that domestic law does not prohibit and penalise all forms of violence against children within the family, in certain types of care or certain types of pre-school settings, that is acts or behaviour likely to affect their physical integrity, dignity, development or psychological development or wellbeing.”

For full report see here


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