Gary Gannon TD

Education, based on facts and science, should be the bare minimum that all of our children can expect

Children’s Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) must be informed by best practice in science and healthcare, according to Social Democrats Education Spokesperson Gary Gannon, who has launched new legislation to reform the way RSE is taught.

“In a modern republic, we must have relationship and sexuality education that is informed by best practice in science and healthcare. This means that the curriculum must be standardised across all publicly-funded schools.

“It is not acceptable that children, in primary schools, can be taught that relationships can be placed in a hierarchy, depending on sexual orientation. It is also utterly unacceptable that LGBTQ teachers could be expected to teach that their relationships are somehow lesser.

“Last summer, when a controversy erupted about the Irish Bishops Conference developing their own RSE programme, Education Minster Norma Foley promised to bring forward legislation to reform the delivery of RSE. That hasn’t happened.

“Given the Minister’s inaction on this important issue, I have drafted my own legislation to reform the antiquated manner in which RSE can be taught. I have done this by amending the Education Act to, among other things, require schools to teach RSE solely in accordance with the prescribed curriculum – which must be evidence-based.

“Education, based on facts and science, should be the bare minimum that all of our children can expect – no matter what the ethos of their school. This is especially important in this country given the Catholic Church owns more than 90pc of the country’s primary schools – a monopoly which is unlikely to change anytime soon.

“Given the huge importance of RSE to children’s development, and relationships, it is essential that the reforms contained in this legislation are implemented as quickly as possible. There can be no excuses for further inaction.”

16 November, 2021


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