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Referendum on statutory rape to be held in March

A referendum to deal with the fallout from the statutory rape controversy is likely to be held next March.

The date was chosen to coincide with the planned vote on children's rights.

This amendment would render it impossible for an adult who had sex with a person under 15 to avail of a defence of honest mistake as to their age.

It follows a Supreme Court decision in May which allowed for a man to be acquitted on the grounds that he believed a girl was old enough to offer consent for sex.

According to reports, proposals to reword Article 38 of the Constitution - which deals with trial in due course of law - are to be recommended by the Oireachtas Committee on Child Protection in the coming weeks.

It's understood that the committee is also to call for the age of consent to be changed to 16 for both boys and girls.

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