Ireland’s age of consent is “failing kids”, Newstalk Breakfast’s Ciara Kelly has said.
Currently, the age of consent is 17 - one year higher than in neighbouring Britain but a year younger than in the United States.
The Government has announced it will provide free contraception to women and girls between 16 and 30, sparking some debate as to why the age of consent is 17.
“Should we lower the age of consent? Should we talk about it differently with kids?” Ciara queried.
“There is a difference to a 16-year-old having sex with another 16-year-old in their class... and a 16-year-old having sex with a 43-year-old.
“But I think we are failing kids and I think we still - despite our new liberal, modern clothes here in Ireland - are semi-prudish and a bit icky about sex in general and sex particularly for young people and I worry.”
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Before she became a journalist, Ciara worked as a GP and she says it is common for patients under the age of consent to be sexually active.
“I would have prescribed the pill to 16-year-old girls,” she recalled.
“And the reason GPs do it and they do it without the consent or knowledge of parents… is it is viewed as damage limitation.
“It is the lesser of two evils that you if someone is sexually active, whether they should be or not becomes a moot point.”
Main image: Ciara Kelly