Department of Education removes ‘homophobic’ teaching material

Teaching booklet asked students to consider statements such as ‘all gays molest children’

The Department of Education removed online teaching material criticised as "homophobic," which asked secondary school students to discuss a number of statements, including whether "all gays molest children".

The material was included in online teaching resources provided by the department for social, personal and health education (SPHE) classes at Junior Cycle level until recent months.

The teaching booklet directs students to read through several statements and outline whether they agreed or disagreed with them.

The statements said; “all gays are HIV positive”, “boys who don’t play sport are gay”, “you can change from being a homosexual”, “girls who don’t wear make-up are lesbian”, and “homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to marry”.


The Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) teaching material had been written in the late 1990s.

The National LGBT Federation said it was "disturbing" such teaching material was "ever considered appropriate".

In a statement on Twitter, the organisation said LGBT+ students deserve a “fact-based, inclusive” RSE curriculum, not “harmful and offensive” debates about their identities.

Concerns were raised with the department over the teaching resource material this April, a department spokesman said. The concerns about the teaching booklet had been raised by a school guidance counsellor.

“Following receipt of this communication, in June 2021 steps were taken by the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) to remove the resources from the website,” the department spokesman said.

“However, a technical caching issue meant that instances of the resources were still accessible through web searches after that date. This technical issue has now been resolved,” he said.

Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, Fine Gael TD, described the language used in the teaching material as "homophobic" and "deeply wrong".

Ms Carroll MacNeill said the issue showed there was a need to “dramatically update” the RSE curriculum in schools, to an “objective, inclusive, education programme”.

The statements set out in the removed material were “not in any sense neutral statements”, and would be hurtful for any LGBT+ pupil in a classroom discussing them, she said.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times