Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has told the Dáil that no one who is a victim of sexual violence or rape is ever to blame for the crime committed against them and that any defence along those lines is "absolutely reprehensible".

He was responding to PBP-Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger who held up a lace thong up in the chamber during Leaders’ Questions to highlight a rape trial in which remarks were made about the 17-year-old complainant's underwear.

The 27-year-old man who was accused of rape in the case was found not guilty by the jury at the Central Criminal Court in Cork.

Mr Varadkar said that while he could not comment on individual court cases, he said he wanted to put on the record of the house that "nobody asks to be raped and it is never the victim's fault".

"It doesn't matter what you wear. It doesn't matter where you went, who you went with or what you took, whether it was drugs or alcohol," the Taoiseach said.

"Nobody who is a victim of sexual violence or rape is ever to blame for the crime committed on them and I believe any defence on those lines is absolutely reprehensible," he said.

Ms Coppinger said women were getting weary at "routine victim-blaming in Irish courts".

"Why is nothing yet being done to stop the routine use of rape myths in trials, and how concerned is this Government about the chilling effect this is having on victims coming forward?" Ms Coppinger asked the Taoiseach.

Ms Coppinger said the 17-year-old in the case in Cork was put in the dock for her choice of underwear.

Mr Varadkar said he could not interfere in the way individual court cases are held, however a review is under way on practice and procedure to see if improvements can be found in the way such trials are conducted.

Ms Coppinger also called on the Taoiseach to approve a PBP-Solidarity bill on sex education in schools and compulsory training for the judiciary.

Mr Varakdar said a lot of effort had been put into the subject of consent in schools and workshops.

Activists have also been posting photos of their underwear online in the aftermath of the Cork case.

A viral campaign saw women posting images of their own underwear on social media, with the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent.

The hashtag was created by a closed Facebook group called Mná na hÉireann (Women of Ireland), and further endorsed on Twitter.

Shubhangi Karmakar drew sketches of different kinds of underwear to go with the hashtag, claiming that consent is not given while "wearing gross pants, nice pants or no pants".

Protests have also been organised in Galway, Limerick, Dublin and Cork by Rosa.