Irish Minister for Children, Barry Andrews, has spoken out against the “widespread” nature of homophobic bullying in the country.

Speaking at the launch of a new report, Teenage Mental Health: What Helps, What Hurts, produced by the Office of the Minister for Children, Andrews made specific mention of homophobic bullying directed at young people by their teachers.

The report, which consulted 277 young people from major cities across Ireland including Dublin, Sligo and Cork, cited the rise of social networking sites and other communications technology as an important factor in homophobic bullying.

However, bullying was also reported in school, from contemporaries and in sports clubs as well as via email and text message.

“Homophobic bullying is widespread and must be tackled,” argued Andrews, who went on to say that the consequences of bullying were significant, leaving some victims seriously traumatised.

Andrews proposed that young people should be educated about the dangers of bullying in an attempt to reduce the sort of incidences reported across Ireland.