The Minister of State with responsibility for Children, Brian Lenihan, has said the Government has no immediate plans to introduce a total ban on smacking children, but such a ban may well come in the future.

Responding to a call from the ISPCC, the Minister said the Government's focus continued to be on the re-education of parents on alternative approaches to managing difficult behaviour in children.

'Parents must be acknowledged as the best judges of how to sanction their children, and the focus should be on parenting supports, including anger control and stress management', he said.