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Right…this is going to be a long thread but it needs reporting. A relatively new, self-declared “grassroots” campaign group @LetKidsBeKidsIE opposed to proposed changes to sex education in schools held a public meeting in Templeogue this evening.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE Went along as curious to see how rigid LKBK might stick to facts. Did my homework by reading the draft report by @NCCAie and large parts of almost 600 pages of submissions by 57 parties
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie Audience of around 150 people greeted by LKBK’s @ConnCremin who seems to be a lecturer at IT Blanchardstown who promises “good and solid information”
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin Main speaker is Tim O’Sullivan described as a former public servant and policy analyst.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin Apologies link was missing to submissions - here it is
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin O’Sullivan opens his remarks by claiming there was no demand from parents for change to curriculum. Not strictly true as @NPCpp and the National Parents Council both acknowledged that many, if not all, parents recognised the need for “a broader based curriculum”
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp O’Sullivan highlights a recent study… by @nuigalway that found approximately a quarter of 15-18 year olds are sexually active and suggests that it highlights that teenagers don’t really need too much sex education.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway O’Sullivan refers to a @NCCAie research paper which in turn refers to the WHO’s Standards for Sexuality Education in Europe. Not everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to sex education admittedly but selective passages are chosen
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway O’Sullivan claims teachers including @Intonews were not informed about a consultation process run by @NCCAie. Factually untrue. The INTO’s LGTB group made a submission as did the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland and a host of other education stakeholders
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews O’Sullivan creates the impress that there was little publicity about the consultation process but fails to mention it received 5,883 responses to a survey including over 4,000 from parents together with another 3,853 parents who were consulted through @NPCpp and the NPC primary
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews O’Sullivan claims most of the submissions were from pressure groups who had “a dominant influence” on the @NCCAie.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews No reference iwas made to the fact there were submissions from many groups with links to the Catholic Church including ACCORD – the Catholic Church Agency which provide RSE education in many schools.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews O’Sullivan apologies for uttering the word "masturbation" when repeatedly focusing on the WHO’s Sexuality Education Matrix contained in and implies these will be fully adopted in any new Irish RSE curriculum.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews Education Minister @McHughJoeTD has already commented on what he described as such “malicious scaremongering”.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews @McHughJoeTD O’Sullivan is also highly critical of researchers at @nuigalway which he claims are “collaborating” with the WHO in “promoting explicit sex education”
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews @McHughJoeTD O’Sullivan also has a pop at support for “holistic” sex education - something which is...ahem....supported by the Association of Trustees of Catholic Schools and the Council for Cathechetics and the Council for Education which is a long-winded way of saying @CatholicBishops.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews @McHughJoeTD @CatholicBishops About the only pure 100% factually correct statement made by O’Sullivan during the whole evening is that @NCCAie has not yet issued any guidelines about changes to sex education in Irish schools
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews @McHughJoeTD @CatholicBishops Next up is a woman called Jennifer, (didn’t catch her surname) who said she was concerned that schools would not be able to safeguard their ethos by sweeping changes that could be made to sex education.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews @McHughJoeTD @CatholicBishops The @NCCAie reported that all but one post-primary school principal surveyed said ethos was not a barrier to delivering the RSE curriculum.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews @McHughJoeTD @CatholicBishops Jennifer speaks passionately about how kids should be playing with Playdoh and building blocks instead of learning about masturbation.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews @McHughJoeTD @CatholicBishops Jennifer then goes to pick out controversial sex education teachings by a council in England with the clear implication they’re coming to an Irish school near you soon
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews @McHughJoeTD @CatholicBishops Jennifer says she is critical of transgender ideology but not individuals before proceeding to highlight a series of cases of what she claims are men posing as women for various reasons
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews @McHughJoeTD @CatholicBishops Jennifer stays on this topic (admittedly off message at this point) and warns of men declaring themselves transgender to get into female prisons and referencing this recent story
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews @McHughJoeTD @CatholicBishops Jennifer also references this story closer to home as evidence of what is coming down the track
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews @McHughJoeTD @CatholicBishops And so to the invited public representatives. None of the 5 local TDs incl @KZapponeTD the Minister for Children have appeared (gets a few jeers)
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews @McHughJoeTD @CatholicBishops @KZapponeTD Independent councillor @McMahon_Ronan said he found what he heard "disturbing and shocking" ( Not sure if that was a reference to misinformation or not) He claimed the proposals (none yet known) were "going too far"
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews @McHughJoeTD @CatholicBishops @KZapponeTD @McMahon_Ronan McMahon suggested TDs did not want to be informed (might be wrong but don't believe it was said with any hint of irony)
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews @McHughJoeTD @CatholicBishops @KZapponeTD @McMahon_Ronan The only other public representative to attend was Labour’s @Pam_Kearns who faced interruptions, taunts, heckling and one or two incidents of verbal abuse (more detail to come) for stating she found @LetKidsBeKidsIE views offensive
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @NCCAie @ConnCremin @NPCpp @nuigalway @INTOnews @McHughJoeTD @CatholicBishops @KZapponeTD @McMahon_Ronan @Pam_Kearns Kearns said the attitude shown by speakers to the LGBT community was disgraceful and their comments were “highly politicised”
This poster was distributed freely around the room although not in an official capacity
Very little of it had to do with sex education but I recognise an alt right playbook when I see one
Floor opens up to an array of speakers. Many impassioned but often regularly off topic. Someone just arriving in the room could be forgiven for thinking the meeting was about abortion
Final speaker from the floor is would-be TD and vlogger The Irish Patriot aka Niall O'Connell who publicly accuses the Labour councillor of endorsing grooming children and paedophilia.
In fairness some members of the audience voice disapproval but there is far from outrage.
Attendance appeared to comprise mostly people who would have been sympathetic to socially conservative politics.
And my take on it......Depressing at seeing how what presumably are well-intentioned people getting stoked up by what is presumably deliberate misinformation.
If interested in the sex education being taught in schools - something everyone should - not just parents - there is an obligation to seek out reliable, truthful info -
And yes there will be differences of opinion but let them be grounded in fact. Here endeth the thread !
Regardless of your views on proposed changes to sex education, I would encourage everyone to read the content of the current RSE curriculum.

Hard to find anything objectionable.
Have a 10-year-old who is already asking questions about the new topics which are under consideration to be added….so yes, timely.
A few final thoughts about the @LetKidsBeKidsIE meeting….
I suspect most parents (and I would include myself until recently) have not familiarised themselves with what is contained in the relationship and sex education curriculum taught in schools. They should.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE There is a lot of talk about the rights of parents in regard to the sex education of their children (and correctly so). What gets almost no recognition is the obligation on parents to inform themselves about the RSE programme in school.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE The biggest issue about RSE should really be the lack of training and supports for teachers expected to deliver RSE.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE Everyone is entitled to their opinion on RSE and to campaign for changes to the curriculum/ to have it removed from school etc. Selective use of info, half-truths and conspiracy theories have no place in a debate on such an important issue
@LetKidsBeKidsIE Respect for people of differing opinion in Irish society is much diminished. The abuse directed at @Pam_Kearns today and twisting of her words by people with an agenda (almost always behind some hidden online identity) is vile and does nothing for their argument.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @Pam_Kearns The organisers of the meeting requested people in the audience at the outset of the meeting not to make any recordings/take photos for posting on social media.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @Pam_Kearns Yet they seemed to have allowed a known right-wing activist @TheIrishPatrio1, Niall O’Connell, who was sitting at the front, to make an audio recordings now being used on various platforms to support their agenda.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @Pam_Kearns @TheIrishPatrio1 @LetKidsBeKidsIE speakers on the platform made no real attempt to intervene when O’Connell made abusive and arguably defamatory comments about Kearns. Their virtual silence was instructive.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @Pam_Kearns @TheIrishPatrio1 Conventional reporting of such a meeting is challenging for journalist. Constraint of space for a start. Quoting material that is clearly questionable if not plain untrue does a disservice to journalism, especially if left unchallenged.
@LetKidsBeKidsIE @Pam_Kearns @TheIrishPatrio1 This thread was meant to get around those constraints.
Take some heart that, regardless of your views, almost 94,000 people have read it at this time. There's enough links there to get factual information.
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