Legislation banning conversion therapy must be expedited – Fianna Fáil Senators

Published on: 06 June 2023

Fianna Fáil Senators Malcolm Byrne and Fiona O’Loughlin have called for legislation outlawing “alarming” conversion therapy to be enacted without delay.


The Senators said it is “unbelievable” that the practice still exists in Ireland today.


Conversion therapy is an umbrella term that describes a range of methods that specifically aim to change or suppress an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity expression.


Research conducted by TCD on behalf of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth earlier this year found conversion therapy practices do take place in Ireland and that harm is inflicted on those who experience such practices.


The study found that these practices not only pose a significant risk to mental health but also delay acceptance of sexual orientation or gender identity.


Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman has confirmed work on draft legislation to protect members of the LGBT community from conversion therapy is ongoing. It is expected that proposals will be brought forward by the end of the year.


“It is alarming and unbelievable that conversion therapy practices still exist in Ireland today,” Senator O’Loughlin said.


“Research has shown time and time again that these efforts are pseudo-scientific, ineffective, and harmful to the individual being targeted and pose a significant risk to their mental health.


“This cannot continue. While Ireland has come a long way when it comes to LGBT+ rights in the past 30 years - from decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993 to marriage equality and gender recognition legislation more recently – there is still work that needs to be done.”


Senator Byrne said, “Government research shows conversion therapy practices - which focus on reducing same sex behaviour, are happening in recent years. This is unconscionable. Banning these practices is a priority for Fianna Fáil and we made sure it was one of our key measures in the programme for government.


“We are a leader when it comes to equality for the LGBTQ+ community. And we need to ensure that continues.


“Conversion therapy has no place in Ireland today and we must take action now to stamp out these practices for once and for all.”