New measures banning the smacking of children come into force tomorrow

New measures banning the smacking of children come into force tomorrow

From tomorrow new measures prohibiting the smacking of children will come into force.

Children's Minister James Reilly has this afternoon signed a commencement order for the removal of the defence of "reasonable chastisement."

The move means that from tomorrow a person who administers corporal punishment to a child will no longer be able to rely on such a defence in the courts.

Such a move has been called for by human rights groups for many months.

“The removal of the Common Law defence sends a strong message which will, I hope, lead to a cultural change across Irish society that corporal punishment is wrong," Dr Reilly said.

"We have not created any new offence but rather we are removing something that has its roots in a completely different era and societal context, he added.

Last year the UN Human Rights watchdog told the Irish government to make it illegal for parents to smack their kids.

The international group's Human Rights Committee released a report in 2014 criticising Ireland’s handling of the symphysiotomy and the mother-and-baby homes controversies.

The report says: “The State party should take appropriate steps, including the adoption of suitable legislation, to put an end to corporal punishment in all settings.

“It should encourage non-violent forms of discipline as alternatives to corporal punishment, and conduct public information campaigns to raise awareness about its harmful effects.”