The Social Democrats have called for more comprehensive sex education to be introduced in schools to properly address issues like consent and respect.

The party's co-leader Róisín Shortall said there has to be an open discussion in schools about this subject, rather than students getting a distorted view from the internet.

The party believes the way these issues are taught in the Netherlands should be examined here.

The Social Democrats recently published a policy paper on sexual and reproductive health.

The party's political director, Anne-Marie McNally, said the policy aims to have a conversation about what is acceptable when discussing sex and sexuality.

Earlier the director of a youth information website said the recent rape case in Belfast acts as a wake-up call to the poor quality of sex education around the country.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ian Power of said there is an inconsistency in the way sex education is delivered around the country.

He also said that mandatory consent education classes at third level come "way too late".

Mr Power was speaking following the not guilty verdicts returned in a trial involving two Ireland and Ulster rugby players and two other men.

He said the case, which was heard at Belfast Crown Court, focused on the legal meaning of consent, but added it is vital that more in-depth conversations are had around the topic of consent.

Mr Power said young people are "taught about the physiology and the biological aspects of sex in school, when really what they need is education around the relationships side of things.

"Consent is something that you own and that you're sharing with another person and you always have the right to change your mind," he added.

In the same interview, he added that the case highlighted a "toxic masculinity" in Irish society.

This would only be addressed by men speaking out and stepping up when they saw situations where women are treated, or spoken about, in a derogatory way, he said.