Ireland
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IABA to investigate use of National Stadium for 'SPHE information evening' by Christian group

THE IRISH ATHLETIC Boxing Association (IABA) says it will investigate the use of the National Stadium in Dublin for an event which will oppose the teaching of transgender issues to schoolchildren. 

The event, due to take place this evening, has been organised by a group called Christian Voice Ireland, a body which claims to represent over 80 churches and ministries on the island of Ireland.

It is billed as an “SPHE information evening” for parents of school-going children, and will express concerns about the proposed changes to sex education modules on the syllabus for the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) at Leaving Cert level.

The Government is seeking to modernise the subject, including a revised Relationships and Sexuality education section, following consultations with Leaving Cert students which found that many pupils found the old curriculum to be too focused on biology.

Speakers at the event will include Pastor John Ahern of the All Nations Church – a group which has a registered address in the stadium, where the church meets weekly. 

Ahern posted a video to social media promoting the event claiming that the syllabus is putting children “in danger”, and that children are being “indoctrinated” and “sexualised”.

Christian Voice Ireland also has a registered address in the stadium.

 about the event titled ‘Parents, Wake Up: A Crucial Event on Transgender Ideology in Schools’, the group claims the new curriculum will have “implications on parental rights, religious freedom, and, most importantly, the well-being of our children”.

The article also references a previous event held at the stadium in July which “focused on the dangers of a curriculum that intends to present transgender ideology as factual”.

The IABA owns the National Stadium, a purpose-built boxing arena which is located on the South Circular Road in Dublin.

The use of the stadium for the event was questioned by Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Mick Barry, who asked whether it aligned with the IABA’s policies on inclusion and diversity.

“You have a church using the National Stadium today for a gathering,” Barry told The Journal.

“Are the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, who own the National Stadium, not concerned that their own Diversity and Inclusion Policy, which includes LGBTQ people, is being breached by hiring the hall out to this particular church?”

The association’s 2023 inclusion policy states that it welcomes “all members of all communities” regardless of their “gender identity or sexual orientation”.

In a statement to The Journal, a spokesperson for the IABA said the event did not reflect its views and confirmed that it would investigate the use of the stadium.

“The IABA is committed to promoting equality and treating people fairly and with respect by providing equal access and opportunities for all,” a statement read.

“The IABA regularly hires out facilities to third party operators. The opinions expressed are solely related to a third-party operator and do not reflect the views or opinions of the IABA.”