The Court of Appeal has ruled that a dead child cannot be identified, when someone is charged with killing them.

The ruling also means that the person charged with the child's murder or manslaughter cannot be named if by doing so, the child would also be identified.

The ruling came in an appeal taken by RTÉ and other media outlets in the case of a woman who was found not guilty by reason of insanity of killing her three-year-old daughter.

Before the woman's trial in October last year, the DPP applied for reporting restrictions preventing the identification of the deceased child.

This meant the mother's name could not be published either.

The application was made under section 252 of the 2001 Children Act.

The media challenged the restrictions arguing that the definition of child in the legislation did not include a child who had died before the age of 18.

In the judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal, the court found that it was not possible to interpret the legislation as not including a dead child.

Giving the ruling, Mr Justice George Birmingham said he appreciated the media may find the ruling surprising and that it involved a radical departure from what had been a long established practice.

But he said the language of the statute was clear and unequivocal.

It enjoyed the presumption of constitutionality and must be given effect to, he said.

The judge ruled that if change was required, it was a matter for the Oireachtas.

Mr Justice Birmingham acknowledged the outcome may not be a particularly welcome one.

The ruling means that victims of violent crime, such as 14-year-old Ana Kriégel, who was murdered in 2018 by two 13-year-old boys, cannot be identified when those accused of killing them are charged.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences