Irish Commission Mulls Legalizing Incest

News: World News
 •  •  November 20, 2019   

Law Reform Commission looks at letting siblings have sex

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DUBLIN ( - An Irish commision is thinking about changing the law to allow incest in some cases.

A review by the Law Reform Commission is taking a look at how Irish law defines sexual offenses. Among the topics being discussed are sexual harassment, sexually transmitted diseases and the age of consent.

Also on the table is legalizing incest between consenting adults. Current Irish law criminalizes intercourse between blood relatives of opposite sex.

Tom O' Malley, a member of the Law Reform Commission, explained to attendees of the commission's annual conference, "One might question if such conduct should be criminal" if the siblings are consenting adults and there is no possibility of pregnancy.

Ireland's Law Reform Commission is an independent body of experts that review laws and proposes reforms. The majority of its recommendations end up influencing Ireland's legislation and court rulings.


John McGuirk, editor of Irish news and commentary website Gript, blasted the idea of decriminalizing incest in an op-ed on Tuesday.

"The law provides us powerful moral signals as to what kind of behaviour is, and is not, acceptable," he argued. "The net effect of this specific proposal is to make incest more morally acceptable."

The net effect of this specific proposal is to make incest more morally acceptable.

McGuirk noted that O'Malley seemed to think that the main reason for the prohibition on incest is the risk of birth defects for babies born of incestuous relationships.

But McGuirk argued that is only one of the reasons for banning incest.

"When you take away the legal statement on incest, you take away a good chunk of the argument against it," McGuirk asserted. "If you're somebody unlucky enough to find yourself pressured by a sibling, or the subject of sexually aggressive emotional abuse, you're no longer able to say 'but it's illegal,' while they are now positively able to say 'but there’s nothing wrong with it.'"

Pointing to psychological studies, McGuirk claimed that incest is naturally revolting to people, and not finding it abhorrent is a sign of psychological issues. He wrote, "When something as biologically ingrained as the instinctive revulsion towards incest is cast aside, and an incestuous relationship takes place, we can be relatively sure that something in that relationship has gone fundamentally wrong."

"Indeed," he added, "one of the few proper studies of this subject found that sibling incest was potentially a key indicator of maltreatment during childhood."

That 2010 clinical study out of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden compared adolescents who committed sibling incest with other adolescent sexual offenders. The researchers who worked on the study claimed that those who committed incest with a sibling "had grown up more often in dysfunctional families."

The researchers also stated, "The study gives some empirical support for the possibility that sibling incest can be one sign, among others, of maltreatment during childhood."

The study gives some empirical support for the possibility that sibling incest can be one sign, among others, of maltreatment during childhood.

Ireland was long known as a Catholic stronghold. But its Catholic identity has quickly deteriorated in recent decades.

Church Militant reported earlier this month that the rate of Mass attendance among Ireland's Catholics is plummeting at an unprecedented rate, with Mass attendance dropping by a third.

The Republic of Ireland legalized same-sex "marriage" with a popular referendum in 2015. In like manner, a May 2018 popular referendum decriminalized abortion. Thus, Ireland is perhaps the only country in the world where both abortion and gay "marriage" were introduced by popular vote.

In Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, legalized abortion and gay "marriage" are now being forcibly imposed by the U.K. Parliament.

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