Newry council to debate motion on banning conversion therapy

A councillor sitting on Newry Mourne and Down District Council is bringing forward a motion calling for a ban on conversion therapy in Northern Ireland.

Councillor Patrick Browne Newry conversion therapy

A councillor sitting on the Newry Mourne and Down District Council has called for the outright ban of conversion therapy in Northern Ireland.

Councillor Patrick Brown (pictured above) is to bring a notice of motion to the Newry council today, Wednesday, April 7, seeking the support of all parties to ban conversion therapy according to

Brown wants the council to express its opposition to “the harm caused to our LGBT+ community in the past through the denial of rights and equal treatment” and to further recognise that “discrimination still occurs today”.

Councillor Brown’s motion adds: “This council acknowledges and stands against the ongoing harm the practice of conversion therapy brings to LGBT+ people.

“This council calls on the Minister of Communities to continue to work with the Minister of Health and Minister of Justice to introduce an effective ban on conversion therapy within Northern Ireland, supported by a programme of work to help tackle these practices in all their forms.

“Furthermore this council will highlight and promote the continued support, counselling and advocacy our local groups provide to members of the LGBT+ community.”

Last week, the controversial Christian organisation, Core Issues Trust, managed to keep its status as a registered charity following an investigation by Northern Ireland’s charity regulator.

Core Issues Trust, founded by Michael Davidson, promotes conversion therapy on the basis of sexual orientation, or gender identity, and is the most prominent Christian organisation of its kind in Ireland and the UK.

The central issue with regard to dismissing the group as an uncharitable organisation seems to lie in the continued legality of conversion therapy in Northern Ireland.

The most recent statement from the charity regulator states that “Should the UK government or the NI Executive elect to legislate on the matter then this would provide a definitive steer to the commission on the issue of benefit/harm.”

A bill banning conversion therapy is being progressed in Northern Ireland, similar to the bill being proposed in the Republic of Ireland, however, Stormont Minister Deirdre Hargey has warned against rushing the ban for fear ineffective laws will allow the practice to continue.

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