Fianna Fáil has said it will not support a Solidarity private members’ bill on sex education in schools.
The Provision of Objective Sex Education Bill, which was debated in the Dáil this evening, guarantees the right of students to receive factual and objective relationships and sexuality education without regard to the school's ethos.
It contains provisions for education on consent, on different types of sexuality and different types of gender, on methods of contraception, and on the termination of pregnancy.
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment is carrying out a review of sex education in schools.
The Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment recommended a review of sexual health and relationship education in primary and post-primary schools, colleges, youth clubs and other organisations.
Proposing the bill, Solidarity TD Paul Murphy said most school students were receiving Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) that was grossly distorted by the religious ethos of schools.
He said the model was failing young people and wider society.
Minister for Education Richard Bruton said that the Government would not be opposing the bill.
However, Fianna Fáil said it would not support the passage of the bill.
Education spokesperson Thomas Byrne said his party supported calls for improvements in sex education in schools.
However, he said it had a principle objection in that Ireland had never legislated for a curriculum,and believed this would be a bad precedent.
Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger said she was shocked to hear that Fianna Fáil would not be supporting the bill.
She said in a European context to oppose objective sex education was to be utterly backward and reactionary.
Solidarity held a rally outside Leinster House this afternoon in support of the bill. A vote will take place tomorrow.