Dáil passes legislation to close child-sex loophole

The Dáil has passed new emergency legislation to close a legal loophole that meant it was not an offence to solicit a child for sex.

The offence was inadvertently removed from the statute books because of previous emergency legislation introduced after last year's Supreme Court ruling on underage sex.

The Tánaiste and Justice Minister, Michael McDowell, introduced new laws in the Dáil last night to address the situation and to also introduce a new offence outlawing the sexual "grooming" of children.

Opposition parties supported the moves, but expressed concerns about possible problems that could arise in the future due to the rushed nature of the legislation.

The amendments will now go before the Seanad later today before being sent to the President to be signed into law.

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