Ireland’s service for gender-confused young people should be subject to an independent review, a former government minister has insisted.
Charlie Flanagan TD, a former minister for Children and Youth Affairs, argued that the Health Service Executive’s (HSE) investigation into its own gender identity service was a clear conflict of interest.
Last year, NHS England announced the closure of the Tavistock’s controversial Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), after an independent report by Dr Hilary Cass found it was not a “safe or viable long-term option”.
Released in March, the HSE report claimed to find, “No evidence that a gender affirming approach has influenced hormonal therapy in Ireland.”
Nor, it stated, was there any indication that children or young people had been “fast tracked” onto “hormonal treatment or other physical intervention”.
According to the document, 233 referrals have been made to the Tavistock clinic in London by consultants in Ireland since 2012 through the country’s Treatment Abroad Scheme.
Flanagan said the report was “lacking in any independence” as it had been “commissioned by the HSE, written by the HSE, proofed by the HSE, and published by the HSE”.
After emails released under Freedom of Information showed the investigation had refused to question assessments being made at a Tavistock-influenced clinic in Dublin, Flanagan branded the report “a whitewash”.
Correspondence showed that Dr Karl Neff, clinical lead at Ireland’s National Gender Service (NGS), raised concerns about practices at a teaching hospital in Dublin, the Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin (CHI), including a “focus on hormone therapy and gender affirming surgery”.
Flanagan observed: “It seems clear the clinical experts were completely ignored. There are glaring omissions and the terms of reference for the report were totally inadequate.”
In a recently published exposé of the treatment of gender-confused children in London and Dublin, Newsnight producer Hannah Barnes records how NGS clinicians told her that children were being rushed onto sex swap drugs at CHI.
NGS’s Dr Paul Moran and Prof Donald O’Shea blamed interference by staff from the Tavistock on “problem assessments” being made at the Dublin clinic.
Prof O’Shea described “the idea that you would just jump in with hormones and start treating, without social work input, without liaising with the school, the key worker” as “potty”.
He predicted: “It is likely we will encounter significant levels of regret and other adverse outcomes in the Crumlin legacy group which will be difficult to defend.”