Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape, including spousal rape, and the government enforced the law. Most persons convicted received prison sentences of five to 12 years. The law criminalizes domestic violence. It authorizes prosecution of a violent family member and provides victims with “safety orders,” which prohibit a person from engaging in violent actions or threats, and “barring orders” (restraining orders), which prohibit an offender from entering the family home for up to three years. Anyone found guilty of violating a barring or an interim protection order may receive a fine of up to 4,000 euros ($4,800), a prison sentence of 12 months, or both. A 2014 Garda Inspectorate review found that police did not always correctly record domestic violence cases.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): The law prohibits FGM/C for women and girls. The maximum penalty for performing FGM/C in the country or taking a girl to another country to undergo the procedure is a fine of up to 10,000 euros ($12,000), imprisonment for up to 14 years, or both.
Sexual Harassment: The law obliges employers to prevent sexual harassment and prohibits employers from dismissing an employee for making a complaint of sexual harassment. Authorities effectively enforced the law when sexual harassment was reported. The penalties can include an order requiring equal treatment in the future, as well as compensation for the victim up to a maximum of two years’ pay or 40,000 euros ($48,000), whichever is greater. The law prohibits sexual harassment not only in employment but also in the supply of, and access to, goods and services.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion, involuntary sterilization, or other coercive population control methods. Estimates on maternal mortality and contraceptive prevalence are available at: www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/monitoring/maternal-mortality-2015/en/ .
Discrimination: The law provides women the same legal status and rights as men. Inequalities in pay and promotions persisted in both the public and private sectors.
Birth Registration: A person born after 2004 on the island of Ireland (including Northern Ireland) is automatically a citizen if at least one parent was an Irish citizen, a British citizen, a resident of either Ireland or Northern Ireland entitled to reside in either without time limit, or a legal resident of Ireland or Northern Ireland for three of the four years preceding the child’s birth (excluding time spent as a student or an asylum seeker). Authorities register births immediately.
Child Abuse: The law criminalizes engaging in, or attempting to engage in, a sexual act with a child younger than 17. The maximum sentence in such cases is five years in prison, which can increase to 10 years if the accused is a person in authority, such as a parent or teacher. The law additionally prohibits any person from engaging in, or attempting to engage in, a sexual act with a juvenile younger than 15; the maximum sentence is life imprisonment. Tusla, the government’s Child and Family Agency, provided child protection, early intervention, and family support services. The government also provided funding to NGOs that carried out information campaigns against child abuse as well as those who provided support services to victims.
Early and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age for marriage is 18 years, including for citizens who marry abroad. Persons under 18 must obtain a court exemption order.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law prohibits the commercial sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, and authorities enforced the law. Conviction of trafficking of children and taking a child from home for sexual exploitation carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. A person convicted of meeting a child for the purpose of sexual exploitation faces a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment. The Criminal Law (Sexual Offenses) Act enacted in February set a maximum fine of 5,000 euros ($6,000). The minimum age of consensual sex is 17.
The law provides for a fine of up to 31,000 euros ($37,200), a prison sentence of up to 14 years, or both for a person convicted of allowing a child to be used for pornography. For producing, distributing, printing, or publishing child pornography, the maximum penalty is 5,000 euros ($6,000), 12 months’ imprisonment, or both.
International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
According to the 2016 census, the Jewish community numbered 2,557 persons.
On January 29, the Holocaust Education Trust Ireland in association with the Department of Justice and Equality, the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration, and Dublin City Council organized a national Holocaust Day Memorial commemoration in which senior government ministers and other public figures participated.
According to the newspaper Irish Independent, Shmael Heirouche, a Dutch citizen living in the country, was sentenced on May 31 in Cork Circuit Criminal Court to five years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to the charge of threatening to kill or cause serious harm. He had threatened his two French housemates, praised the Islamic State, and said he would behead Jews.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities. The government effectively enforced these provisions and implemented laws and programs to give persons with disabilities access to buildings, information, and communications.
Children with disabilities generally had full access to educational options at all levels. In a practice condemned by children’s rights and mental health groups, authorities continued to admit minors to adult psychiatric units, with 68 reported admissions of children to adult units, according to the 2016 annual report of the Mental Health Commission.
The law prohibits discrimination based on race, which includes color, nationality, ethnicity, and national origins, and the government enforced the law. Societal discrimination and violence against immigrants and racial and ethnic minorities remained a problem. The country’s African population and Muslim community in particular experienced racially motivated physical violence, intimidation, graffiti, and verbal slurs. According to the European Network Against Racism, the number of reported racist incidents rose by 39 percent in 2016 to 435.
Advocacy groups criticized reductions in the accommodation budget for Travellers, an ethnic group with a distinct history and culture, which was cut by 90 percent between 2008 and 2017. The law obliges local officials to develop suitable accommodation sites for Travellers and to solicit Traveller input. Traveller NGOs asserted that many communities provided Travellers with housing that was unsuitable for their nomadic lifestyle or provided transient caravan camping sites that were unsafe and lacking basic services such as sanitary facilities, electricity, and water. Pavee Point criticized the absence of an agency to address the urgent need for improvements in housing and the implementation of existing policies in health, education, and employment.
In 2016 the Council of Europe’s Committee of Social Rights determined that the country’s law and practice violated the human rights of Travellers on the following grounds: inadequate conditions at many Traveller sites, insufficient provision of accommodation for Travellers, inadequate legal safeguards for Travellers threatened with eviction, and evictions carried out without necessary safeguards.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation with respect to employment, goods, services, and education. The law does not include gender identity as an explicit category, but the courts interpreted it as prohibiting discrimination against transgender persons.
Civil liberties and civil society organizations alleged that no specific legislation existed to deal with other forms of hate crimes or to ensure that prejudice was taken into account as an aggravating factor when sentencing criminals.