Thursday 19 January 2017

Law must send a clear message on what consent to sex means

Ellen O'Malley Dunlop

Published 05/10/2016 | 02:30

'The Irish legislature needs to send a clear message about what consent to sex means in 21st century Ireland' (Stock image)
'The Irish legislature needs to send a clear message about what consent to sex means in 21st century Ireland' (Stock image)

I was very proud of the university students who organised 'Consent Workshops' at the beginning of this year's third-level term. On Wednesday and Thursday, the Criminal Law, Sexual Offences Bill (2015) will progress in Dáil Éireann to the next stage to bring it into law.

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We would urge our politicians, and in particular Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, to strengthen the Bill by including a definition of consent.

In Irish law, rape is defined as sexual intercourse without consent. However, although consent marks the dividing line between sex and rape, the concept is not statutorily defined in Irish law.

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