Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys has said she believes the Oireachtas committee on children is the best forum to examine transgender issues.
Ms Humphreys is responsible for enacting changes to the 2015 Gender Recognition Act as part of Fine Gael’s 2020 Programme for Government, which could allow 16- and 17-year-olds to self-declare their gender without seeing a specialist.
The topic was raised at a private meeting of the party on Wednesday night, with a large number of Fine Gael TDs and senators sharing diverse views.
When asked if she had any timeframe for enacting the changes to the act, she said it was a “very sensitive issue”.
“For that reason, I actually believe what we should do is ask the Oireachtas committee on children and equality to have a look at this issue, to bring in the different experts because it is a sensitive issue,” Ms Humphreys said, adding:
When you’re dealing with something like that it’s important that we don’t rush anything and we look and hear what other people have to say.
Former defence minister Paul Kehoe said he has received more emails about transgender issues than the eviction ban.
However, Minister Humphreys said that she had not received any calls about it.
When asked if she thought Mary Butler, the Fianna Fáil junior minister for mental health, should address the Fine Gael parliamentary party about Ms Butler's own experience as a parent of a transgender son, Ms Humphreys said: “This is a very personal issue and I think that would be a matter for Minister Butler to now decide for herself.
"When you’re in politics you’re inclined to keep your family separate to your political life so, again, that would be a personal decision for Mary.”