Sinn Féin - On Your Side


8 July, 2008 - by Caitríona Ruane

Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has said that government has a responsibility to help build a culture of respect for all sections of society.

The Minister was speaking following a meeting with members of Cara-Friend, the longest running organisation providing services for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

Commenting after the meeting Ms Ruane said: "I would pay tribute to Cara-Friend for the services and support they offer, not only to the young people themselves, but also to their family and friends. At the meeting, I was advised that Cara Friend has seen a marked increase recently in the number of parents who have contacted the organisation after their daughter or son has told them they are lesbian or gay.

"Government has a responsibility to ensure policy development considers the needs of all in our community, including policies for education. As Education Minister I take my duty to respect and treat all sections of the community equally very seriously. It is interesting to note that research shows 86% of young Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people are aware of their sexuality at school. We must offer these young people support and understanding not ignorance and intolerance.

"Where it is needed, professional counselling services have been made available to all post-primary schools since September 2007. This is to help all young people at school who may be experiencing a difficult and vulnerable time in their lives, whether this is about their sexual orientation, bullying or any other issue."


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