Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman is set to update the Cabinet on plans to ban conversion practices and their advertising on both gender and sexual orientation grounds.
The law is being discussed based on a report released by the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Trinity College Dublin in February, which surveyed over 278 people who detailed their "horrendous", "traumatising" and "harmful" experiences.
The report states that "conversion therapies are practices that can be defined as any treatment aimed at changing a person's sexual orientation or gender identity."
"They have been widely discredited as being both ineffective and harmful to those who are exposed to them."
The report revealed that 38 participants said they had been subjected to conversion therapy.
This included allegations that a 12-year-old was illegally given electro-shock treatment.
On Newstalk Breakfast, National Gender Services psychiatrist Dr Paul Moran said he had "never come across a case that has had any conversion therapy."
"Clearly there is a law to ban something which is not happening and has not happened in living memory," he said.
Dr Moran said he has witnessed "an explosion of young people with gender issues in Ireland and around the world."
"This is connected also with mental health problems, relationship problems, and problems with social functioning," he said.
"What these people need is for these problems to be explored and addressed in a very careful therapeutic way to best resolve them.
"However, there are pressure groups that are against this and they're pushing for medical treatment without any assessment or any therapy.
"The law is addressing a problem that doesn't exist but it could empower these activists to undermine and attack the therapists who are trying to help these people."
'Impede the service'
Dr Moran claimed the new law could "enable people to make spurious accusations" about psychiatrist's work.
"That could result in a lot of good professionals moving away from this much-needed work," he said.
"If there is a concern out there, the real solution is to introduce proper regulation of counselling and psychotherapy.
"So instead of coming with legislation, which is specific to one issue, there's a big need for proper regulation.
"Anybody can offer the services as a counsellor or psychotherapist in Ireland without training and qualification.
"That's the area of legislation that should be looked at rather than this response to the pressure groups."
According to Dr Moran, psychiatrists have been subjected to "far-fetched allegations in social media" from LGBTQ+ activists.
"This will possibly give them an avenue to create even greater problems for the professionals," he said.
"There have been attempts to search for any evidence [of conversion therapy] which found none.
"The minister had a group that was actually searching for evidence that there had been conversion therapy and they found no evidence of this."
According to the report published in February of this year, "research findings indicate that conversion therapy practices take place in Ireland."
The report also confirmed the harm that is inflicted on those who experience such practices.
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