Dáil to debate proposed changes to the sex education system in Ireland today 7 months ago

Dáil to debate proposed changes to the sex education system in Ireland today

The bill is set to be debated on Wednesday afternoon.

A bill based on the importance of updating the sexual education curriculum in Ireland is set to head to Cabinet today.

Socialist Party member Ruth Coppinger TD is fronting the bill, which is set to be debated in the Dáil between 3.55pm and 6pm on Wednesday afternoon.

Members of the Socialist Party will be congregating outside the Dáil gates at 3pm, prior to the debate, with hopes of enticing eager-to-learn school students and those interested in promoting a new curriculum to support an updated version of the current syllabus.

According to Education Minister Richard Bruton, certain elements of the Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) curriculum currently being taught in schools are up to 20 years old.

Speaking about the bill, a spokesperson for Ruth Coppinger told JOE that in terms of the teaching of RSE in Ireland at the moment, "nothing is being taught as such".

"It's largely up to the individual teacher and also there is a legal obligation to stay within the ethos," the spokesperson said.

"Facts around options that fall outside the remit of ethos would not generally be covered. Abortion for example. Where there is a mention it would largely be in the negative."

Just two weeks ago, the Department of Education ordered a review of relationships and sexuality education in schools to take into account "the needs of young people today".

The current system, for example, offers no education on safe internet use or support or information regarding LGBTQ+ matters.

The decision follows a recommendation put forward by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment, which called for a "thorough review of sexual health and relationship education, including the areas of contraception and consent".

Should the Bill pass, the provisions would have the following effect:

  • Remove ethos as a consideration for schools and teachers when it comes to relationships and sexuality education.
  • Set minimum standards for the RSE curriculum when it is being set by the Minister.
  • These minimum standards to have RSE as factual and objective and not gender normative.
  • There will be a requirement for factual and objective coverage of consent to sexual activity, sexualities and genders, contraception and all options in crisis pregnancy
  • The Bill also establishes the right of young people to relationship and sexuality education.

Paul Murphy TD first introduced the Bill at the Dáil back in March, ahead of Wednesday's full debate.

Clip via Solidarity - The Left Alternative

As it stands, both RSE and Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) are mandatory for both primary and post-primary students.