Alex's Answer

Why is the age of consent 17

Your Question

Why is the age of consent only 17 in Ireland? I don’t understand why a lot of these European and Western countries set their age of consent below the age of 18 and yet they’re the same ones that complain about pedophilia when their countries make their age of consent so low!! But how come Ireland’s age of consent is 17 and not 18? 17 year olds and people under the age of 18 are far too young to engage in sexual activities with another person in the first place. They are not mature enough whatsoever to be engaging in sexual activities whatsoever. And besides sex comes with a lot of risks such as STD’s and other diseases so the age of consent should definitely be raised to 18 in Ireland and in other countries in general. 


Hi there,  you are very welcome to Ask Alex and thanks so much for getting in touch.

You have asked why the age of consent 17 in Ireland is. This is a really good question, and it sounds like you have been doing a lot of your own research in this area in looking into what the laws are in other countries. Good for you in being so proactive in finding your own answers.  


This is quite a hot topic at the moment with many debates going on around consent in general. It sounds like you believe the age of consent should be raised to 18 in Ireland, would that be correct? You feel that those under the age of 18 are too young and not mature enough to be engaging in sexual activities. You are right that sex does come with many risks such as STDs. You have highlighted many reasons why this is an important conversation to have especially for young people. In your research you may have come across that that the age of consent is also 17 in Norway and your concerns around this have been raised with the government there. It may be worth exploring if this has been raised with the government in Ireland. If this is a step you wish to take it may help to write a letter to your local TD.  


Unfortunately, there is no straight forward answer as to why the age of consent is 17. Many young people are curious and want to have sex and that’s okay but what is important is that they are also having these conversations with their sexual partners. Ensuring that they are using protection, understand what safe sex is and also understand what consent is itself. Sex is very intimate and it is important, especially for young people to have these conversations with any potential partners.  

Just because the age of consent is 17 does not mean you or any one of that age has to consent. You and others always have the right to say no. You may find this article on our website to help with such conversations: . This is another very good website, if you haven’t come across it already


We hope this has been helpful, remember you can get in touch with Childline at any time if you wish to discuss this any further. You can always call the Childline Team at 1800 66 66 66 or reach out through Live Chat at Our services are non-judgmental and confidential. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.   


Take care of yourself,  and thanks again for getting in touch,


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