Irish Sunday Independent accidentally publishes journalism

...from its readers

Following on from last Thursday’s open letter to Ireland's Children's Ombudsman, yesterday’s Sunday Independent showed the Irish public’s real reaction to the Children’s Ombudsman’s piece in the same paper the week before. They can sense the scandal even if that newspaper’s journalists cannot.

To recap, Dr.Niall Muldoon hasked why there was not talk of legislation for ‘legal gender recognition for children under 16’ amongst other things, and seemed unaware of the Kiera Bell case, the whole reason for cessation of new referrals to the gender clinic in Crumlin Children’s Hospital.  

If people had realised his piece bore a striking resemblance to this article, which is peppered with statements from Éirénne Carroll, the CEO of TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland) a highly ideological outfit masquerading as a human rights group, there might have been even more concern.

When it could not be more important that he carry out a proper assessment of the evidence, Ireland’s Children’s Ombudsman relied instead on his laptop’s copy and paste function. There is no bigger scandal than providing puberty blockers to children. But where the stakes could not be higher, Doctor Muldoon handing in someone else’s homework—and not even the homework of one of the smart kids—is surely news.

The letters follow below. It’s quite something to have seven, that’s seven, letters printed on a topic, and yet no mainstream news outlet in Ireland is reporting on it. Are there any Irish journalists with the courage to do their own research on this? Or to speak to some of the professionals working with these children? If so, do let me know, they’ll be very happy to speak to you. 

Ombudsman wrong on child gender issue

Sir — In his article in last week’s Sunday Independent headlined ‘Young trans people have a right to be seen, heard and supported’ the Ombudsman for Children Niall Muldoon discusses the need to stand up against transphobia and gender critical stances.

While neglecting to offer any definitions of these terms, Mr Muldoon then discusses the need for better healthcare provision and a simplified legal recognition process for young people who identify as transgender.

At no point in the article does Mr Muldoon discuss gender dysphoria in young people.

This suggests that he has already concluded that if a child experiences confusion about their gender then the child is “trans” — hence his emphasis on pushing through legal gender recognition for under 18s.

In effect, he is endorsing the “affirmation” model that has been promoted for many years by trans activists — despite there being no evidence that it leads to a successful outcome.

It is a highly ideological position that effectively subscribes a child to lifelong experimental medicalisation with no guarantee that the child’s dysphoria will even be resolved.

Numerous studies have shown that most children who experience gender dysphoria will resolve their confusion via puberty.

I find it very concerning that the Ombudsman for Children makes no mention of this evidence and instead endorses an unproven ideological model.

If I didn’t know who Niall Muldoon was, I would have assumed the writer of the article was a trans rights activist — because that is how it reads.

Children who experience gender dysphoria do indeed need better healthcare support but perhaps we should explore the roots of the child’s gender confusion instead of fast-tracking medicalisation and legal recognition particularly given the increasing numbers of young people (particularly young girls) who are being diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

Andrea King

Ongar, Dublin

Sir — Mr Muldoon states that the gender identity adolescent service at Crumlin Children’s Hospital (CCH) is no longer accepting new referrals.

This is due to the Keira Bell vs Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) case in the UK High Court of October 2020. I would be very surprised, if as the Children Ombudsman, Mr Muldoon had no knowledge of this.

Ms Bell won her case and the court found that children could not give informed consent. The High Court ruled that Ms Bell (who had undergone hormone therapy and gender affirming surgeries from age 16) did not have the capacity, as a minor, to consent to ‘gender affirming’ medical treatment.

The High Court ordered Tavistock to immediately suspend new referrals for puberty blockers for the under-16s, and that those seeking it would need court approval. Most importantly, Mr Muldoon also laments that “the law is completely silent on recognition for children under 16”.

I would ask Mr Muldoon if it is in his capacity as Children’s Ombudsman that he feels that such recognition is appropriate from an adolescent psychological and emotional intelligence context?

Peer-reviewed studies, which I can cite, show that 80pc of children desist from a trans identity when they don’t receive medical intervention. If the child does receive medical intervention that number drops to 2pc.

This means that when left alone to express themselves and present how they like but not affirmed as being ‘born in the wrong body’, most children revert back to identifying as the gender which correlates to their birth sex. In other words, they grow out of it.

It cannot be a revelation to anyone that we are not fully formed sexually, emotionally or mentally in our teens.

Jacky Stewart

Crumlin, Dublin

Sir — A horrible chill ran down my spine when I read Niall Muldoon’s piece. I imagined being a parent in Ireland and being told by my Ombudsman for Children: “Gender affirming care for trans young people must be a priority.”

His statement and the type of “care” he advocates only make sense in the context of an entirely faith-based assumption — that all of a sudden droves of children are “born in the wrong body” and therefore in urgent need of being put on a medical path of no return.

Once on this path, erstwhile perfectly healthy children will be dependent on wrong-sex hormones for the rest of their lives, with untested long-term implications. Not to forget the ensuing probability of multiple surgeries, infertility, early-onset osteoporosis, loss of sexual function and many further complications.

Petra Kindler,

Ferrybank, Waterford

Sir — According to the website of the Ombudsman for Children “a child’s best interests must always come first”. But the comments of Ombudsman Niall Muldoon in last week’s Sunday Independent were extraordinary.

They read like the claims made by transgender lobby groups.

Two years ago Prof Carl Heneghan of Oxford University said the off-label use of drugs in gender dysphoria treatment “largely means an unregulated live experiment on children”.

Mr Muldoon’s opinion was not the considered and independent approach one would expect from the Ombudsman for Children.

Who will speak for children now?

Jill Nesbitt,

Bray, Co Wicklow

Sir — Gender ideology is currently a hot but unchallengeable topic. Children suffering from gender dysphoria need therapy to help them to come to terms with their bodies, not life-long drug regimes and surgery.

And Ombudsman Niall Muldoon should withdraw his disingenuous article.

Elizabeth May,

Carnew, Co Wicklow

Sir — Niall Muldoon wrongly conflates transphobia and gender-critical stances.

Many feminists regard gender theory as deeply flawed and oppose it because it conflates maleness and femaleness with what we consider harmful stereotypical traits which we have fought against for so long.

In saying this we do not ignore those who experience gender dysphoria and we encourage the provision of support and resources for transgender people.

Jean Cross,

Ballinrobe, Co Mayo

Sir — I was dismayed to read Niall Muldoon’s comments.

Most children prescribed puberty blockers for gender dysphoria go on to take cross-sex hormones, thereby becoming patients for life, risking sterility and other health problems as a result of taking these drugs.

Why would the Ombudsman risk backing this approach when the science does not support it?

Orla Ní Chomhraí,

Knocknacarra, Galway