Hundreds call on Minister for Education to reform sex ed in Ireland

Following a recent upsurge in violent attacks against women, there is a public outcry for updated sex education to help combat "the culture of misogyny in Ireland".

Minister Norma Foley at a press conference in front of the Irish and EU flags. This story details the public demand for sex education reform in Ireland.
Image: YouTube via Dublin City University

Minister Norma Foley has been contacted by over 300 people who are demanding the reform of the Irish Relationship and Sex Education curriculum.

The citizens who reached out to the Minister for Education are members of the campaigning community, Uplift, a self-supporting independent organisation fighting for societal change in a number of areas including LGBTQ+ rights, disability rights, education, housing and gender equality.

Those who contacted Minister Foley have been campaigning for the reform of Irish sex education standards for years, including “discussion of proper consent, education of young boys not to perpetuate a culture of sexism and empowerment of young people to learn and talk about their sexuality and sex in a healthy way.”

“As a community, we believe that a holistic approach is vital when it comes to relationship and sex education,” said one Uplift member. “Young people should be taught to love their bodies, that no one has a right to access their bodies unless they give it. Everyone should be able to see sex as a normal part of a healthy relationship. In addition, I think it’s really important to have lessons on consent.”

The Irish Relationship and Sex Education programme was reviewed by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) in December 2019, but Minister Foley has delayed further action until September 2022. Uplift members are now calling for the Minister to respond to the criticisms of this delay and to make sex education reform a matter of priority.

“When healthy conversations about sex and relationships are shunned and shamed away, it becomes a lightning rod for sexual violence,” said Layla Wade, a staff member and campaigner for Uplift.

“Proper sex education is one of the real ways we can help make our communities safer for us all. Minister Norma Foley is dragging her heels on an issue that impacts the daily lives of young people we know and love.”

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