Dáil Éireann - Volume 423 - 07 October, 1992

Written Answers. - Degrading Treatment of Children.

270. Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Health when he proposes to initiate legislation which will ban all physical punishment and degrading treatment of children by parents, teachers or other carers.

Minister for Health (Dr. O'Connell): The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child contains a special provision requiring States which are Parties to the Convention to ensure that no child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This Convention was ratified by Ireland on 28 September 1992.

As the Deputy will appreciate, there are differing views on whether the mild chastisement of children by their parents constitutes degrading treatment or punishment of the kind envisaged by the UN Convention. I am aware that there is a campaign under way to ban all forms of physical punishment of children and I shall follow developments with interests to see whether a clear consensus emerges on the issue.

I might mention that the corporal punishment of children by teachers in national schools has not been allowed since 1982.