Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has described mental health legislation loopholes that force young people in the LGBTI+ community to be subjected to conversion therapy as inhumane and outdated.
At present, 16 and 17-year-olds do not have the legislative right to refuse this draconian practice.
Speaking today in the Dáil, Teachta Ward said:
“Current legislation around the age of consent when it comes to accessing or refusing mental health treatment are barriers to all our young people
“However, this specific barrier in which only those aged 18 and over can consent or refuse treatment poses significant risk to LGBTI+ community.
“In relation to mental health, this creates circumstances for LGBTI+ young people wherein their access to mental health services is dependent on their willingness to share their needs with their parents/guardians.
“As research has demonstrated, many LGBTI+ young people are not supported in their home environments because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“This can become a barrier to accessing mental health supports.
“What has me really concerned is that young people in the LGBTI+ community are still being subjected to conversion therapy as they do not have the legislative right to refuse this draconian practice.
“Johnny Mythen TD and I have introduced legislation to the Bills Office that would enable 16 and 17-year-olds to both consent to and access mental treatment on parity with physical health care.
“This so-called ‘conversion therapy’ should have no place in our society.
“It is harmful, destructive, and has been condemned and discredited worldwide by institutions such as the UN Committee Against Torture, the European Parliament, and by the Irish Council for Psychotherapy.
“My colleague, Senator Fintan Warfield, in 2018 introduced the Prohibition of Conversion Therapy Bill.
“I am calling on the government to act on this legislation to ensure it becomes a reality, and protect LGBTI+ people from this harmful practice
“There can be no more delays.”