The move brings Ireland in line with the UK, where it is already illegal for residents to be taken abroad and subjected to the horrific practice.
The Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill has been passed by the Oireachtas
– the national parliament of Ireland. AkiDwA
, the network of African and migrant women in Ireland, has welcomed the news.
Chief executive, Salome Mbugua, said: ‘AkiDwA has campaigned tirelessly to end the cruel and out-dated practice of FGM since our inception in 2001.
‘The passing of this bill is a huge victory for AkiDwA, and FGM campaigners everywhere.
‘As we approach the summer months, we know that people in Europe are making plans to transport girls back to their country of origin for FGM.
‘The passing of the bill sends a clear message to parents and guardians that FGM will not be tolerated in Europe, and in Ireland in particular.
‘Moreover, the new legislation arising from the bill will have extra-territorial effect.
‘This represents a vital protection for women and girls living in Ireland, but who could be transported out of the country for FGM.’
It is estimated that there are more than 3000 women and girls living in Ireland who have undergone FGM.
Most are from Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Egypt, Kenya and Sierra Leone.
Senator Ivana Bacik initiated the legislation, which started as a private members bill and achieved cross-party support.
Senator Bacik said she is ‘very proud to have played a part in its passage’.
‘There is immense support for the new offences created in the bill, which I hope will help to deter or prevent the horrific practice of FGM being performed on any children or women resident in Ireland,’ she said.
‘And which will also criminalise anyone who seeks to take a child or woman out of Ireland to have FGM performed elsewhere.’