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Statement by Michael McDowell on use of puberty blockers for children

Minister for Health, HSE and Irish Medical Council must halt discredited puberty blocker treatment for Irish children

Statement by Senator Michael McDowell

10th April 2024


Cass Report findings in UK must be heeded in Ireland


The publication of the final report by Dr Hilary Cass in the UK today raises profound issues for the treatment of trans-identifying children in Ireland.

In 2020 Dr Cass was commissioned to examine The NHS Gender Identity Development Service and her key findings include a recommendation to reject the practice of prescribing “puberty blockers” which are hormones prescribed to under 18s for the purpose of halting puberty in children wishing to change gender.

I have for a number of years publicly raised grave concerns about this practice for which Dr Cass has now found “no good evidence” to support its continued use as a treatment pathway for vulnerable gender-questioning children.

Similar concerns have been raised in Ireland by the National Gender Service.

I am today calling on the Minister for Health and the HSE to immediately discontinue in the public health service the prescription of puberty blockers.  I also call on the Irish Medical Council to issue a statement that pending the conduct of a review which needs to commence immediately that medical practitioners, including clinical psychiatrists in public and private practice, are to discontinue their use until further notice.

The long term consequences of these experimental treatments are completely unknown and Irish children must be protected whilst being treated with care and compassion.

The UK experience must now act as an urgent wake-up call to Irish law makers, medical professionals, parents and all who care for and about Irish children.

-        ends


Senator Michael McDowell

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