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 the offender 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 ($4,600), a prison sentence of 12 months, or both. In May the government signed the Domestic Violence Act 2018 into law. This act removed barriers and offers increased victim protection. The new law includes the extension of protection and safety orders to couples who do not live together, guidelines for granting protective orders, and the introduction of coercive control as a new crime.
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 companies reported sexual harassment. 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 ($46,000), 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 or involuntary sterilization.
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. The government enforced the law effectively. In 2017 CEDAW noted a persistence of “discriminatory stereotypes concerning the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society.” It also observed a low level of participation of Traveller, Roma, and migrant women in political and public life.
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 physical and psychological abuse and engaging in, or attempting to engage in, a sexual act with a child younger than age 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 age 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. The Domestic Violence Act 2018 passed in May repealed provisions that enabled persons younger than 18 to marry and criminalized forced marriage.
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 ($5,750). The minimum age for consensual sex is 17.
The law provides for a fine of up to 31,000 euros ($35,700), 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 ($5,750), 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 https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/International-Parental-Child-Abduction/for-providers/legal-reports-and-data.html.
According to the 2016 census, the Jewish community numbered 2,557 persons. There were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.
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. In 2017 the government developed a National Disability Inclusion Strategy for 2017-21.
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 33 percent (to 330) in the first six months of 2017.
The law obliges local officials to develop suitable accommodation sites for Travellers and to solicit input from the Travellers. According to IHREC, Travellers were 22 times more likely than other respondents to report discrimination in access to housing. In May the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), an independent agency within the Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, ordered a local authority to pay compensation to a Traveller family for discrimination in a housing claim and directed the council that denied their application to review its policy on social housing assessment regulations.
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. The government took no known action to redress these problems.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in 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 reported the law does not include specific provisions on hate crimes or bias-motivated violence, and does not consider prejudice as an aggravating factor when sentencing criminals. In 2017 CEDAW alleged, “Medically irreversible and unnecessary sex assignment surgery and other treatments are reportedly performed on intersex children.”