Irish Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) supports ban on conversion therapy, encourages research

The ACP noted ongoing research into conversion therapy, with the aim of supporting the government in efforts to ban the practice.

A priest speaks to a young woman on a church pew. The Irish Association of Catholic Priests supports a ban on conversion therapy, according to a July 16 blog post.
Image: MART PRODUCTION via Pexels

The Irish Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) has expressed its support for a national ban on conversion therapy and highlighted ongoing research which will inform efforts to ban the practice.

The ACP published a blog post on its website July 16 summarising research efforts at Trinity College and mentioning the researchers’ need for more participation. The post additionally made the note that “ACP Leadership supports a ban on ‘conversion therapy.’” 

The Trinity College School of Nursing and Midwifery is conducting the study on the effects of conversion therapies, also called Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts, which are widely known as ineffective and as detrimental to people’s wellbeing.

The programme for Government (2020) has committed to ban Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts [SOGICE] in the Republic of Ireland,” the description of the study reads. “[H]owever before that can proceed, an understanding of how the practices operate in Ireland is necessary.” 

The study, which takes the form of an anonymous survey and interviews with select people, therefore aims to collect more information about how exactly conversion therapies have worked, who they have affected, and what forms they have taken. The findings will be used to create informed government policy and legislation around conversion therapy.

LGBT Ireland Campaign Officer Alan Edge noted the importance of the ACP’s disavowal of conversion practices, since religious LGBTQ+ people “are particularly susceptible to these types of interventions and may be especially vulnerable as they try to reconcile their beliefs and traditions with their sexuality or gender identity.” 

The support of the Association, he said in a press release, is therefore highly welcome, and demonstrates support for LGBTQ+ Catholics specifically. 

He additionally commented on the harmful nature of conversion therapy, which can take multiple forms and consist of both physical and emotional abuse. 

“‘These practices are based on fundamentally flawed biases against our community, and they cause real and lasting harm to people,” he said. “We would really urge anyone who has been offered such interventions or has been subjected to them to take part in the survey which will inform the legislative ban to which the government has committed.”

Open to all members of the LGBTQ+ community, the survey can be found here. Those who have experienced conversion therapy efforts will be invited to give an individual interview, but like the survey, this is completely optional. 

LGBT Ireland is encouraging the community to participate in the study. “If you or someone you know has been subjected to conversion practices,” their press release reads, “please help us in preventing this from happening to others by completing the survey.”

For more information on the study or to contact the researchers, email [email protected]

Naturally, the survey will likely address issues that may be traumatic for some readers. Should you need support, there are always options available to you – find out about them through LGBT Ireland here.


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