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Legal ban on identifying child murder victims must be changed, Taoiseach says

Michael Martin said he expected legislative action to address the situation early this year.

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The court ruling marked a significant departure from established media reporting practices in the state (Niall Carson/PA)

The court ruling marked a significant departure from established media reporting practices in the state (Niall Carson/PA)

The court ruling marked a significant departure from established media reporting practices in the state (Niall Carson/PA)

A legal ban on reporting the identity of murdered children in Ireland must be changed to ensure transparency, the Taoiseach has said.

Micheal Martin said justice minister Helen McEntee and attorney general Paul Gallagher were working on measures to lift the prohibition.

A landmark decision by the Court of Appeal in October last year ruled that provisions within the 2001 Children Act that prevent the identification of a child when someone is charged with an offence against them do not exclude children who are deceased.

The ruling marked a significant departure from established media reporting practices in the state.

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin said change was needed (Brian Lawless/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said change was needed (Brian Lawless/PA)

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin said change was needed (Brian Lawless/PA)

It means child murder victims can no longer be named when someone is charged with the crime.

Changing the position would require an amendment to the Children Act.

Mr Martin said he expected legislative action early this year.

“I know the attorney general is working on that with the Minister for Justice,” he said.

“It has to be changed and we will. The specific nature of how we do it, we will have to wait to see the detail of that.”

Asked why it was important to allow children who had been killed to be identified, the Taoiseach added: “I think it’s important in terms of … I believe in transparency on issues like that.

“Of course we should know who has murdered a child – in certain circumstances it is essential.”

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