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Statement by the Ombudsman for Children following the Supreme Court Judgement on Statutory Rape

The Ombudsman for Children, under Section 7(4) of the Ombudsman for Children Act, 2002, has a statutory mandate to offer advice to any Minister on matters relating to the rights and welfare of children.

The Ombudsman for Children wrote to the Minister for Justice on Wednesday, 24th May 2006 asking for the forthcoming legislation to be formally referred to the Ombudsman for Children’s Office. The Ombudsman for Children has a statutory role to review proposals for legislation and to highlight the probable effect on children of the implementation of any such proposals.

In her letter to the Minister for Justice, the Ombudsman for Children also recommended that the new legislation give consideration to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Ireland ratified in 1992. In particular, the Ombudsman for Children, emphasised Article 3 of the Convention that in all actions concerning children the best interest of the child must be the primary consideration.