What's the child marriage rate? How big of an issue is child marriage?
There is no publicly available government data on child marriage in Ireland.
Are there country-specific drivers of child marriage in this country?
Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that women and girls are somehow inferior to men and boys.
There is limited information on child marriage in Ireland.
What has this country committed to?
Ireland has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. Ireland mentioned its national policies designed for achieving target 5.3 – One World, One Future; The Global Island – in its 2018 Voluntary National Review at the High Level Political Forum, the mechanism through which governments report progress on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.
Ireland co-sponsored the 2017 Human Rights Council resolution recognising the need to address child, early and forced marriage in humanitarian contexts, and the 2015 Human Rights Council resolution to end child, early and forced marriage, recognising that it is a violation of human rights.
Ireland co-sponsored the 2013 and 2014 UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced marriage, and the 2013 Human Rights Council resolution on child, early and forced marriage. In 2014, Ireland signed a joint statement at the Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.
Ireland ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1985, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.
In 2016 the UN Child Rights Committee recommended that Ireland remove all exceptions in the Family Law Act, 1995, that enable marriages to take place under the age of 18.
At the Girl Summit in July 2014, the government signed a charter committing to end child marriage by 2020.
What is the government doing to address this at the national level?
What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?
Under the Family Law Act 1995 the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years. However individuals may marry before 18 for “serious reasons” with the permission of the court.
Girl Summit 2014, The Girl Summit Charter on Ending FGM and Child, Early and Forced Marriage, [website], 2015, (accessed February 2018)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Joint statement on child, early and forced marriage, HRC 27, Agenda Item 3, [website], 2014, (accessed April 2018)
UN Child Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the combined third and fourth periodic reports of Ireland, 2016, p.6, (accessed April 2018)
United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, (accessed February 2018)
* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2017)