The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) in Ireland has said that works by a poet accused of sexually exploiting young men in Nepal will continue to be taught in schools.

Education Minister Mary Hanafin has been advised by the council: “On balance, the Council considered that its original position on the artistic merit and suitability for study of the work of Cathal O’Searcaigh should stand.”

The poet, whose Irish language works are taught at Leaving Certificate, the equivalent of A Level, has been accused of the “sexual exploitation and grooming” of 16 year old Nepalese boys.

Allegations about the poet’s relationship with the young boys surfaced after the screening of Fairytale of Kathmandu, a documentary on Mr Searcaigh’s charitable work in Nepal made by a former friend of his.

The poet wrote a letter denouncing the accusations last month, saying:

“If my gay lifestyle and relationships in Nepal have offended anyone, I am sorry.

“But to suggest that I in any way coerced or preyed upon these young men is untrue and distasteful.

“My relationships in Nepal have always been open and loving and above board.”

Opposition education spokesman Brian Hayes recently challenged Ms Hanafin on the “appropriateness or otherwise” of having the work on the current syllabus.

The minister – who recently had to defend her actions in helping Mr Searcaigh secure a visa to Ireland for a Nepalese friend – said she was “shocked and appalled” by the allegations.