Letter to the Editor: Lessons from abroad when it comes to sex education

In her column ‘Ditch the shyness and just get on with talking to children about sex’, (Irish Examiner, November 15) Alison O’Connor suggests that letters of concern to the Department of Education regarding policy changes were premature, as the Government hasn’t yet made any decisions about reform to sex education.

Letter to the Editor: Lessons from abroad when it comes to sex education

In her column ‘Ditch the shyness and just get on with talking to children about sex’, (Irish Examiner, November 15) Alison O’Connor suggests that letters of concern to the Department of Education regarding policy changes were premature, as the Government hasn’t yet made any decisions about reform to sex education.

That may be strictly true, but as both she and Dr Caroline West have pointed out in your paper, an Oireachtas committee has proposed changes to bring Ireland into line with both the sex education programmes of other countries and with guidelines from organisations like the UN, Unesco, and WHO.

The proposals would be regarded by many as being an acceptance and endorsement of the liberal agenda, though undoubtedly reasons advanced for their introduction would include the need to stop the spread of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), and the need to reduce unwanted pregnancies.

Many of the developed countries whose policies we might be expected to emulate are experiencing serious and alarming increases in STI rates.

Newly diagnosed cases in Britain were way in excess of 400,000 in 2018. Across the Atlantic, treatment of STIs is now annually costing the US in the region of $16bn (€14.5bn).

The failure of proposed sex education policies to achieve their stated goals elsewhere, should encourage us to think twice before adopting them here.

We might even ask if such policies could in any way be responsible for the very things they are said to prevent.

If the children of the nation are to receive the full picture when it comes to sex education, the idea shouldn’t be easily dismissed.

Rory O’Donovan

Killeens

Co Cork

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