Is 14 a suitable age to marry? Advice on not rushing into marriage now becomes law.

The new marriage requirements which come into law on 1 August 1996 mean that couples will now be required by law to give three months notice of their intention to wed. Under the terms of the Family Law Act the age requirement for marriage will also be raised to eighteen. 

These new requirements have been condemned by the Professor of Canon Law at St Patrick's College in Thurles county Tipperary, Dr Maurice Dooley. Áine Lawlor debates the issue with Dr Dooley.

Dr Dooley believes that Catholics shouldn't regard themselves as bound by the law.

The new legislation has led to a debate over State versus Canon Law. Dr Dooley believes that State law is by no means superior to Canon Law commenting

The law of God is superior to state law.

Dr Dooley believes that the new law is a violation of the fundamental right to marriage. Canon law sets the age of 14 for a girl and 16 for a boy as the minimum age for marriage. The change in the minimum age to 18 is in direct conflict with the "supreme authority of the Church", according to Dr Dooley. He further comments that 

A person must be free to marry around the time of sexual puberty.

Dr Dooley also sees the new imposition of three months notice as "a pile of bureaucracy".

A 'Morning Ireland' report by Áine Lawlor broadcast on 19 April 1996.