The Iona Blog

Opinions contained in The Iona Blog are not necessarily those of The Iona Institute. The Iona Blog is open to anyone who broadly shares the views of The Iona Institute. If you wish to post a comment on a relevant topic please email 200 – 400 words to and it will be considered for inclusion in the blog.


What the new survey of parental demand for schools tells us

By Tom O'Gorman on 3rd April 2013. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

The Department of Education has published the results of a survey of parents in another 38 areas to find out how many want to send their children to a non-denominational school. Once again, there was a low response rate and little interest was shown in alternatives to Catholic schools.


On the uses of research in debates about marriage

By David Quinn on April 1 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The Iona Institute, among other pro-marriage groups, likes to use a number of studies to buttress its case that marriage should be given special status. It is obvious that marriage should not have special status unless there is something special about it. What is that something? The answer is the benefits it passes on to children.


Labour’s social issues agenda bombs in Meath East by-election

By David Quinn on 28th March 2013. ~ Categories: Other

Labour’s Eoin Holmes has done spectacularly badly in the Meath East by-election. Holmes ran in part on a social issues agenda. He made lots of noise about Labour’s stance on abortion and same-sex marriage, and had Ivana Bacik (pictured) as a prominent part of his campaign. It did him no good whatsoever.


French show how it's done with yet another massive pro-marriage rally

By Tom O'Gorman on 26th March 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Last Sunday saw another mass protest against same-sex marriage in Paris. This video gives a good feel of the colour, atmosphere and sheer joie de vivre of the overall march.


Why do economists recommend college for its benefits but not marriage?

By Tom O'Gorman on 23rd March 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Why do economists strongly recommend schemes promoting higher levels of college education, but almost never promote schemes to incentivise marriage? After all, both are beneficial. It's an interesting question, posed by writer Megan McArdle in this blog.


Child-care as the cure for all our ills

By David Quinn on 19th March 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

More extravagant claims are being made for the benefits of child-care. For example, at a recent conference organised by pro-child care organisation, Start Strong, Fergus Finlay of Bernardos said Sweden’s comprehensive child-care system was responsible for its strong economy.


A gay man argues against gay marriage

By Tom O'Gorman on 15th March 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The website of the Constitutional Convention lists all the submissions made to date on the subject of same-sex marriage. Most of these, unfortunately, reflect only one side of the argument, that is the pro-same-sex marriage side.


Willingly and unwillingly teaching religion

By David Quinn on 12th March 2013. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

The headline to the story in The Irish Times yesterday read, ‘Only 49pc teach religion willingly in schools’. What did this headline invite us to believe? It invited us to believe that the rest do so unwillingly. Nothing could be further from the truth. The INTO survey on which the report is based in fact found that only 10pc of respondents don’t want to teach religion.


Equality commissars take aim at religious freedom. Again.

By David Quinn on 9th March 2013. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Reports that the Government could back a Bill which would deny religious institutions the right not to hire people who could damage their ethos and to take “reasonable” action against those who do is very worrying for those of us who value religious freedom.


Maria Steen discusses surrogacy on RTE's Prime Time

By Tom O'Gorman on 7th March 2013. ~ Categories: Other

Maria Steen of the Iona Institute discussed the issue of surrogacy on RTE's Prime Time with David Walsh of the Sims Fertility Clinic on Tuesday in the wake of the High Court's decision to recognise the biological parents of twins born to a surrogate mother as the legal parents.


How a surrogate mother was pressured to have an abortion

By Tom O'Gorman on 6th March 2013. ~ Categories: Other

Yesterday's High Court ruling in favour of a biological mother whose child was born to a surrogate mother and who wanted to be acknowledged as the legal mother was a legal milestone. The case presented surrogacy in a positive light. In fact, surrogacy is an ethical minefield throwing into sharp relief such questions as who is the ‘real’ mother of a child when two or more women have a hand in its creation.


Motherhood presented as an anti-woman institution

By Tom O'Gorman on 2nd March 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

This year is the 50th anniversary of The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan, one of the most influential books of the late 20th century and possibly the key text in modern feminism. In the latest edition of the Family in America journal, author Charmaine Crouse Yoest argues that the book launched modern feminism's war on motherhood.


Considering a ‘right’ to assisted suicide at the Supreme Court

By Tom O'Gorman on 28th February 2013. ~ Categories: Other

The Supreme Court is in the midst of considering the issue of assisted suicide, after last month's High Court ruling upholding Ireland's ban on the practice was appealed. Yesterday, the court heard from the lawyer from the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC), Frank Callanan SC, who argued that the appellant, Marie Fleming, should have the right to die, but declined to say whether this was a Constitutional right or not.


Talking about abortion to 120 sixth year girls

By David Quinn on 26th February 2013. ~ Categories: Schools and Education

Last week I was asked by a school to address its transition year and sixth year girls on the topic of abortion. Talking about abortion to a group of 120 17 and 18 year olds struck me as risky business. Would they react against what I had to say, or would they ‘merely’ be bored stiff? In fact, it went very well.


Why seven ECHR judges dissented from their colleagues’ ‘Brave New World’ decision

By Tom O'Gorman on 22nd February 2013. ~ Categories:

No fewer than seven judges of the European Court of Human Rights issued a partial dissent from the court's ruling on Tuesday in favour of a lesbian couple where one partner wished to adopt the biological child of the other.


Another step towards the Brave New World

By David Quinn on 20th February 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The European Court of Human Rights seems to have difficulty treating different situations differently. That much is clear from its ruling in the case of X and Others v. Austria. Instead the court wants to pretend that different situations are the same.


Economic pressures mean Article 41.2 still needed

By Tom O'Gorman on 15th February 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Victoria White (pictured) has an excellent piece in today's Irish Examiner arguing forcefully for the retention of Article 41.2, which deals with women in the home. White makes the excellent-and all too frequently forgotten-point that the article was not designed to keep women in the home, but to protect their rights.


University Times apologises unreservedly to David Quinn

By The Iona Institute on February 13, 2013. ~ Categories: Other

The University Times has apologised unreservedly to Iona Institute director, David Quinn, for defamatory remarks made about him in two articles in its issue of January 5. Mr Quinn was also given a right of reply.


More strain on marriage but fewer divorces: why?

By Tom O'Gorman on 12th Febuary 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Yesterday, the Catholic Church's marriage counselling agency, Accord, released figures which they say demonstrate that there are increasing strains being place upon marriage. The figures show that the number of people using their marriage counselling services increased and that the number of people reporting financial difficulties, communication issues and stress and anxiety overall had gone up.


Why 22 Labour MPs voted against same-sex marriage

By Tom O'Gorman on 8th February 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

On Tuesday night the House of Commons voted by 400 to 175 in favour of same-sex marriage. Interestingly, among the 175 who voted against were 22 Labour MPs. This was unexpected in that Labour is committed to equality, and same-sex marriage is normally argued for in the name of equality. So why would 22 Labour MPs vote against same-sex marriage?


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