AN Irish MEP has called on the government to ensure that Ireland's primary education system discourages homophobia by teaching children the importance of treating all people equally.
Labour MEP Proinsias de Rossa was speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the occasion of International Day Against Homophobia, May 17, which marks the date in 1990 when the World Health Organisation dropped homosexuality from its list of diseases.
"Homophobia is based entirely on ignorance and prejudice, and children must be taught that all human beings are equal, irrespective of gender, sexuality, age, colour or creed," remarked Mr De Rossa.
Three of the EU's top-level leaders also spoke out against homophobia, marking their first joint address on the issue. Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, broadcast a video message strongly condemning homophobia as a "clear breach of human dignity".
Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, re-affirmed the EU's commitment to refuse discrimination on any grounds, while EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said homophobia was "incompatible with the principles on which the EU is founded."