The Christian Institute

News Release

Irish Govt’s “priority” conversion therapy Bill not such a priority for 94% of voters

Irish voters want the Government to focus on healthcare and housing not a new law on ‘conversion therapy’, an important new poll has shown.

Commissioned by The Christian Institute, pollsters Whitestone Insight asked 1,002 voters to select up to four of their top policy priorities for the following twelve months out of a list of 17.

It found that ‘Healthcare capacity’ (65%), ‘Social housing’ (60%), and ‘Energy security’ (30%) were the top three issues. The controversial proposals on ‘banning conversion practices’ were a priority for just 6% of voters.

The figures call into question Equalities Minister Roderic O’Gorman’s June announcement that the Government is treating a new Bill on ‘conversion therapy’ as a “priority”.

Welcoming the results of the poll, The Christian Institute’s Deputy Director Ciarán Kelly said:

“This poll makes it very clear that voters just don’t buy into the idea that a new conversion therapy law should be a priority.

“Rightly, gay and trans people are already protected against verbal and physical abuse. In fact, the Government’s own research revealed little or no evidence of so-called conversion therapy going on in Ireland today.

“What campaigners really want is legislation restricting the ordinary work of churches: preaching, prayer, pastoral care – even calls to repent. And to criminalise parents who try to prevent their children being prescribed puberty blockers.

“That’s what has been put in place in the State of Victoria in Australia – held up by some activists as the ‘gold standard’ to follow.

“In official guidance there, examples of illegal practices include a church leader who prays for someone not to act on their feelings of same-sex attraction, and a parent who refuses to support ‘gender affirming’ medical interventions for their child.

“Instead of rushing to placate the highly vocal but tiny minority intent on bringing in a new law, the Government needs to heed the overwhelming majority of voters telling them very clearly: ‘This is not a priority’.”

Top human rights lawyer Aidan O’Neill has argued that a broad law risks breaching the European Convention rights of churches and individuals with regard to religious freedom, free speech, freedom of association, parental rights and respect for family life.

The Whitestone Insight polling (tables below) shows that even in Dublin only 7 per cent picked a ‘conversion therapy’ ban as a top four priority for Government in the next 12 months with support in Connacht and Ulster a mere 2 per cent.

Notes for Editors: