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Report to call for reform of Ireland's 20-year-old sex education programme

The Government will be called on to reform Ireland's 20-year-old sex education programme.

A new report from a group of TDs has found that religious schools should lose the power to influence sex education in line with their own ethos.

The Report on Relationships and Sexuality Education will be officially launched later today.

The Oireachtas Education Committee will call on the government to reform the sex education programme, which has not been changed in two decades.

The committee will also say that what is being taught at the moment does not reflect modern Ireland.

RTÉ reports that it will highlight "shortcomings in current delivery on LGBTQI+ students".

The state broadcaster says that the report will recommend outside groups be brought into schools to deliver sexual education, "which will be regulated by the Department of Education or the Health Service Executive to ensure that accurate information is being given to students".

The report will also recommend changes be introduced as soon as possible and at the latest by the end of 2019.

Atheist Ireland has welcomed the report.

The group said: "The report has recommended, as Atheist Ireland asked it to do, that the law must be changed to remove the role of ethos as a barrier to the objective and factual delivery of sex education curriculums.

"This is the first time that an Oireachtas Committee has recognised that students have a right to an objective education for the State curriculum, even in denominational schools, outside of the patron’s religion or values programmes.

"All students have a human right to have the state curriculum delivered in an objective, critical, and pluralistic manner."

"The report strengthens the case for this key element of Solidarity’s Objective Sex Education Bill. The Committee has recommended that the Education Act 1998 be amended or at least reviewed, so that ethos can no longer be used as a barrier to the effective, objective and factual teaching of the RSE and SPHE curriculum to which every student is entitled."