Almost 150 Irish minors travelled to England and Wales for legal abortions last year, according to the latest figures from the UK’s Department of Health.
Representing a 10 percent drop from 2010 figures, some 37 girls under the age of 16 who travelled to the UK for an abortion, provided an Irish address.
A further 111 girls between the age of 16 and 17 also made the journey to the UK to terminate their pregnancies.
Overall 4,149 females travelled to England and Wales for abortions last year, a seven percent decrease from 4,402 in 2010. More than half of these women were in their twenties; 1,289 were in their 30s; and 257 were over the age of 40.
Speaking at an event at the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin on Tuesday to mark Sexual Health Awareness week, Minister for Health James Reilly said the figures were “of great concern.”
He added: “I’m told by some of the experts here today that some schools are not taking up the option of allowing sexual health education to take place in school.
“I regret that and I certainly will be talking to Minister Ruairí Quinn about it and how to address that because I think it is wrong to deprive young people of essential information in relation to their well-being and health.”