By Caroline Spencer
Galway representatives and advocacy groups have hit out at the new Relationship and Sexual Education (RSE) guide for primary schools.
The new guide has been criticised as being out of touch with modern times and in need of reform.
The guide named Flourish describes the act of marriage as between “man and woman”. Sex and puberty are “a gift from God” and men and women are “perfectly designed to procreate”. The guide was developed by the Irish Bishops Conference.
Galway Sinn Féin TD Mairéad Farrell stressed the need for change from the Catholic ethos of the program.
“We need legislative reform. No chid, especially LGBTQIA children should ever feel less than in their own school. This information is outdated,” she said.
Referencing the Education Act 1998, Ms Farrell spoke on the need for an updated approach to sexual education for young people.
“Due in large part to outdated legislation, schools are picking and choosing parts of the sexual education curriculum to deliver to their students. This, in turn, means that many of the key issues surrounding safe sex, contraceptives and crisis pregnancies are often barely touched upon, or left out entirely,” she said.
Social Democrats Councillor Owen Hanley criticised the new guide and the ethos behind it.
“If your theology is homophobic, you shouldn’t be allowed to teach it in public schools,” he said.
Some 90 per cent of primary schools are under the patronage of the Catholic Church. Educate Together and other non-denominational schools are scarce around the country.
Educate Together schools guarantee “equality of access and esteem to students irrespective of their social, cultural or religious background”.