Youth website defends sex advice

Fine Gael TD criticised 'inappropriate' material on HSE-funded Spunout.ie

The youth organisation SpunOut.ie has defended itself after a Fine Gael TD accused it of publishing inappropriate sex education content on its website.

Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin was quoted by a Sunday newspaper criticising the organisation, which receives €124,000 in State funding a year, for publishing tips on threesomes. She said this was "incredibly regressive" and would raise it with Minister for Health James Reilly, according to the Sunday Independent.

In a statement, the charity said: “Young people are having sex whether the Sunday Independent or Deputy Michelle Mulherin like it or not. Some of them are having sex with more than one person, and sometimes with more than one person at the one time.”

It said it was widely accepted that sex education in Irish schools was poor and inconsistent, and that education needed to begin early.

READ MORE

“Spunout.ie exists to provide balanced, reliable and responsible information for 16 to 25 year olds only. The age of consent in Northern Ireland is 16. SpunOut.ie is an all-island charity,” it stated.

“All too often, older generations avoid having conversations with their young people about difficult subjects. This is particularly true in relation to sex. Parents feel uncomfortable talking to their children about it and teachers are afraid to raise the subject in the classroom. An adult’s discomfort does not negate a young person’s right to information.”

The Iona Institute, a religious advocacy group, said public funding for Spunout.ie should be suspended because of the group's "radically pro-choice philosophy, its promotion of an extremely permissive approach to sexual behaviour among teenagers, and because of the way in which the role of parents in the lives of their teenage children is almost completely sidelined" on the site.

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic is an Assistant Editor of The Irish Times