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Judge calls for new laws to help young forced into marriage

Ireland:  NEW laws may be needed to help young people placed in arranged or forced marriages, a Supreme Court judge has said.

The system for seeking exemptions from the legal age limit for marriage may also need to be reviewed as it raises child welfare questions, according to Mr Justice John MacMenamin of the Supreme Court. Judge MacMenamin raised the possibilities of new laws as it emerged that a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and a 29-year-old man – both of whom are from the Islamic faith – was annulled by court order. Serious concerns remain for the welfare of the Pakistani-born girl, who was later taken to Egypt by her mother despite a court order restraining her removal from Ireland.

The marriage took place in an Islamic centre in 2010 and was annulled in September 2011 due to lack of “full, free and informed consent” on behalf of the teen. The girl, known only as R, had a brief acquaintance with her intended husband before the marriage.


Judge John MacMenamin highlighted the case of a 16-year-old who was in an arranged marriage

Persons aged under 18 must get the permission of the Circuit Family Court or the High Court to get married. Before the ceremony, two applications were made to exempt the girl from the age restriction and from the requirement to give three months’ notice of intention to marry.

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