Friday 15 November 2019

'Some parents did not want children attending event run by LGBT group' - Colaiste Eoin principal

A workshop run by the group in UCD
A workshop run by the group in UCD

David Kearns

The head of Colaiste Eoin, the school criticised for cancelling a workshop on homophobic bullying this week, said he did so because there were worries that some children would be “singled out” if they did not attend.

Principal Finin Mairtin said it decided postpone the workshop because “six or seven parents” had not wanted their children to attend a workshop hosted by a “LGBT organisation”.

“Some parents were worried that if their sons weren’t attending the workshops, that they would be singled out by other pupils and that that would upset them,” he told RTÉ Raidio na Gaeltachta last night.

In the interview, Mr Mairtin said the decision was made “to be sure that no student felt they were being singled out because they weren’t attending the workshop”, and that the school had made a mistake by sending out the cancellation notice too late.

“The problem was that, when we informed ShoutOut that it was postponed, ShoutOut posted to their website around lunchtime that it had been cancelled,” he said.

“I am personally very disappointed with the way this has been portrayed by the organiser.. It is disappointing the way it blown up and how it took to social media.”

Transition year students at the Dublin secondary school were due to given the talk by Shout Out on Wednesday morning.

However, the group said it was told at the last minute that the event was not going ahead because some parents felt “the other side needed to be heard”.

Asked about these reports Mr Mairtin: “If you are talking about an anti-homophobic bullying workshop, there are no two sides, but if you are talking about a group coming in to talk about LGBT matters, and this is where the difficulty arises, there are different opinions on that, and that is what came into play here.

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