RSE Bill described as ‘an attack on pluralism and diversity’

A Social Democrats bill dealing with relationships and sexuality education in schools, which they say should be ‘fact-based and free from religious influence’, has been described as ‘an attack on pluralism and diversity’.

Speaking in the Dail in opposition to the Bill, Aontú Leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín said he believes all parents should be able to send their children to a school that reflects their ethos.

“This by definition is the pluralist education model that a republic should have. I believe that the Social Democrat members here today should be able to send their children to any school that reflects their ethos. But I oppose strongly the Soc Dems denying parents with a different ethos doing the same. I oppose the Soc Dems forcing their ethos on other families who don’t want it”.

He continued: “The Soc Dem bill is an attack on pluralism. It is an attack of diversity. The Soc Dem bill is a one size fits all bill.  It states that parents can forget about their ethos, that the Minister of the day will determine the ethos of the education system and parents and students can like it or lump it”.

He also criticised the idea of a ‘science-based’ RSE programme with no ethos.

“You need a value system to make sense of science. Science has given us the power to split the atom. Our value system determines whether we use it for a nuclear bomb or a nuclear energy. The Soc Dems will say that they are a party of science, are they saying that they don’t have a value system? Of course not”.