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“Radical & harmful ideology”: Women’s group slams sex ed plans

Women’s rights advocacy group The Countess has accused the National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NCCA) of attempting to breach the constitutional rights of parents.

The remarks were made as Ireland’s official curriculum body has indicated its desire to see RSE (Relationship and Sexuality Education) and SPHE merged into a single compulsory subject, coming into effect in September 2023. If this plan succeeds, the Countess argues that parents will be denied the right to serve as the primary source of religious, moral, and social education of their children.

The group argues that this would violate Article 42.1 and 42.1 of the Constitution, which read:

“1: The State acknowledges that the primary and natural educator of the child is the Family and guarantees to respect the inalienable right and duty of parents to provide, according to their means, for the religious and moral, intellectual, physical and social education of their children.

2: Parents shall be free to provide this education in their homes or in private schools or in schools recognised or established by the State.”

Founder and CEO of the Countess, Laoise Aodha de Brún BL, spoke on the group’s stance in a statement.

“If the NCCA proposed changes go ahead, Gender Identity Theory, Critical Social Justice theory and Queer Theory will be effectively ‘baked into’ every school subject making it impossible for parents to remove their own children from lessons where these contested, radical, and harmful ideological beliefs are taught,” she said.

“It is clear that the NCCA are trying to develop an RSE/SPHE curriculum that is driven ideologically by Gender Identity Theory, Queer Theory and Critical Social Justice Theory.”

She went on to describe the theories in question as “intellectually dishonest.”

“They may be fashionable, but they are harmful to children and to all of society,” said de Brún.

“These theories undermine the rights of the child or student to accurate and honest information about their bodies, by claiming one can change sex and about the nature of sexuality, by stating sexual orientation is based on same gender attraction rather than same sex attraction.”

While she claimed that “most parents” in Ireland were not familiar with such theories, she said that these ideas were fundamentally about “breaking down the norms of society,” and in particular “the boundaries around childhood.”

“A recent example would be the Balenciaga campaign using toddlers holding teddy bears adorned in BDSM leathers,” she said.

“Queer Theory argues that childhood innocence is an adult concept, a construct that deprives children of agency. As such, it is a direct danger to children because it promotes an environment where grooming can take place.”

The group also pointed to the fact that on February 8th 2020, Dr. Elly Barnes, when speaking at an event of Ireland’s largest teachers’ union, urged educators not to “send a letter home” to inform parents about sex ed.

“So we’ve had to have parent consultations, and the only advice I can give you around that is, don’t send a letter home to say you’re about to embark on this work,” said the speaker.

“That’s the worst thing you can do…You don’t want 30 parents shouting at you – who wants that in your life? That’s an awful thing to do.”

De Brún continued: “It is of vital importance that parents are aware that the NCCA has been captured and colonised by these ideologies which pose a direct threat to children, and that the planned restructuring of the provision of RSE and SPHE will mean it will be too late to remove their children should they object.”

The group concluded by saying that the Department of Education is “out of its depth,” accusing the group of allowing the “wholesale ideological capture of the National Council for Curriculum Assessment (the NCCA) by activists intent on “queering” the curriculum and circumventing parental rights.”


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