God knows it's not often I side with the PDs, but I find myself reluctantly agreeing with them against the accusations Fine Gael and Labour are making today.

The horrific 'A' incident took place in May 2002. This was, I believe, well before the start of the constitutional challenge to the statutory rape law. Even had the Government changed the law immediately upon the instigation of this challenge, 'Mr. A' would still have walked free yesterday. He could only ever have been convicted on the basis of the law that was in place at the time of his offence. No subsequent change in the law could be applied retrospectively.

The current Government is to blame for ignoring the Law Reform Commission's 1990 recommendations and not changing that law before the 'A' offence took place, of course. But so were all other governments from 1990 on - including those which Fine Gael and Labour were part of. Their credibility on this issue is wafer-thin.

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