World News and Trends: The Republic of Ireland searches for its moral compass

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The Republic of Ireland searches for its moral compass

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Until recent years one got the distinct impression that Eire or the Republic of Ireland was somewhat immune from some of the social problems that have generally dogged our Western world. Now it appears that Ireland is experiencing some of the West's disturbing trends with a vengeance.

Many Irish teenagers did not realize that it was illegal for a girl under 17 or a boy under 15 to be sexually active with partners. As one teen said, "Most of my friends would be fairly sexually active, from about 13." A reporter observed that "explicit sex acts go on both inside and outside the teen disco" (Sunday Independent [Eire], June 4).

A recent legal technicality permitted a convicted pedophile to walk free. A virtual tsunami of public anger spread throughout the republic. Various parents commented that "children are definitely in danger" and that "Ireland is a haven for pedophiles." Schoolteachers stated that "dangerous liaisons and dance halls are the real sex educators."

The Republic of Ireland is rapidly waking up to some of the dangers inherent in our present Western way of life. (Source: Sunday Independent [Eire].)