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 [email protected] and it will be considered for inclusion in the blog.


PM’s former-speechwriter wants to force churches to perform same-sex marriages

By Tom O'Gorman on 5th January 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Last month, in the wake of UK government's announcement that it was set to press ahead with same-sex marriage, it was reported that senior Church of England figures were deeply concerned that the legislation would ultimately force them to conduct same-sex marriages. A piece by Ian Birrell, a former speechwriter for Prime Minister David Cameron, demonstrates why they were right to be scared.


What research is Minister Fitzgerald’s rosy view of child-care based on?

By David Quinn on Jan 2 2013. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Other

Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald wants money diverted from Child Benefit into State-subsidised child care. She believes children will benefit, especially educationally, from this. However, research showing that children benefit from early child care is based mainly on children from disadvantaged backgrounds.


Maria Steen discusses the Government decision to legislate for the X-case on CNN

By Tom O'Gorman on 21st December 2012. ~ Categories: Other

Maria Steen of The Iona Institute debates the Government's proposed abortion legislation with Choice Ireland's Sinéad Ahern on CNN's Connect the World with Becky Anderson.


David Cameron sails into stormy waters over same-sex marriage

By Tom O'Gorman on 18th December 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

David Cameron's (pictured) plan to introduce same-sex marriage may be still on track, but it has already brought deep fissures within his own party to the surface, and these divisions are only set to grow. He has been forced to grant his MPs a free vote, but that has not quelled the rebellion.


John Waters on ‘Ireland and the Abolition of God’

By Tom O'Gorman on 14th December 2012. ~ Categories: Other

On Wednesday, columnist and author John Waters spoke to a packed meeting of the Iona Institute on the subject of ‘Ireland and the Abolition of God’. John said that Irish culture has created a situation in which it is impermissable to speak about God or transcendental truths in public..


Minister Quinn could learn from the Catholic schools of Northern Ireland

By John McBride on 13th December 2012. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Ruairi Quinn (pictured) will be noting again the amount of time spent teaching religion and Irish in our primary schools. The results of the latest international school literacy and numeracy tests conducted among 50 countries were released this week.


Even in Sweden family breakdown hurts children

By David Quinn on 11th December 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Divorce, cohabitation and births out of wedlock are all very high in Sweden. How do Swedish children fare as a result? Not bad at all, reckons renowned economist, Paul Krugman, and he credits Sweden’s lavish welfare state with this. But he’s wrong, as this blog by sociologist Brad Wilcox shows. In fact, by the time they are 15, Swedish children born out of wedlock are 75pc more likely to see their parents split up than children born within wedlock.


The Irish Human Rights Commission finds in favour of the ‘right’ to die

By Tom O'Gorman on 7th December 2012. ~ Categories: Other

The Irish Human Right Commission has made a submission to the High Court in which it effectively calls for the legalisation of assisted suicide. They made the submission in a case involving a woman suffering from Multiple Sclerosis who is arguing that she has a human right to have someone assist her suicide.


On the brainless caricaturing of the Irish Constitution

By David Quinn on 6th December 2012. ~ Categories: Other

And so the convention on our mercilessly caricatured Constitution has begun. The caricature of it is easy to spell out; it is a Catholic document heavily influenced by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid and it is utterly of its time. It is to be fervently hoped, therefore, that the Convention members had a good listen to the speech delivered by Justice Gerard Hogan on Saturday.


Religion in Ireland far from finished finds new Irish Times/MRBI poll

By John McBride on December 3, 2012. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice

In the past week polling company MRNI has been publishing a series of polls in the Irish Times on various aspects of life in Ireland, including religion. One of the most disappointing figures in the poll from the secular lobby's point of view was that some 87 per cent of 18-34-year-olds still believe in God.


Pro-life representatives subjected to unprecedented abuse

By David Quinn on 30th November 2012. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion,Other

We are accustomed to being told that the pro-life movement is full of extremists who are abusive towards their opponents and will not allow a ‘rational, reasonable’ debate to take place on the issue of abortion. In this blog we show that much of the extremism now resides on the other side of this debate. The vitriol that has been poured out on the heads of pro-life spokespeople, including representatives of The Iona Institute, has been unprecedented.


What the latest poll on same-sex marriage really says

By David Quinn on 27th November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The latest poll on same-sex marriage published in The Irish Times yesterday convinces me more than ever that a referendum on the matter would lose if the campaign is even remotely fair and balanced. The poll showed 53pc support for a change to the definition of marriage, but that is down a massive 20 points compared with a Red C poll in February and around 10 points compared with other polls on the matter.


Maria Steen of The Iona Institute debates the abortion issue on Prime Time etc

By Tom O'Gorman on 23rd November 2012. ~ Categories: Other

In the last few days, Iona Institute board member, Maria Steen, has been on a number of programmes debating the abortion issue, including the Prime Time special which featured the interview with Praveen Halappanavar, the husband of Savita. Maria also appeared on Frontline on Monday night, and on Newstalk’s Sunday Show at the weekend.


Cardinal Dolan on what the US election meant for Catholic issues

By Tom O'Gorman on 21st November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

How did the US election go from a Catholic point of view, not just the general election, but the various ballots as well? In the three states where same-sex marriage was on the ballot, Maine, Maryland and Washington, it triumphed, for the first time ever. There was a ballot in Massachusetts in favour of ‘assisted suicide’ and it lost.


Butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth atheism

By David Quinn on Nov 18 2012. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice,Other

Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland had an article in The Irish Times on Friday called ‘Myths about atheism obscure its secular values’. It was a highly sanitised presentation of atheism, what we might call ‘butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth’ atheism.


Transsexual rights: does the Government know what it is getting into?

By Tom O'Gorman on 16th November 2012. ~ Categories: Other

Last month, the youngest ever man to have a ‘gender reassignment’ operation in the UK decided he wanted the procedure reversed. The 18-year-old, who was formerly known as Brad Cooper, and now known as Ria, had been having hormone injections to make him look like a woman.


It’s because you’re a housewife that your child is autistic?

By David Quinn on 14th November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Victoria White had a very interesting piece in The Evening Herald on Monday explaining why she voted against the children’s rights referendum even though she had fully intended voting in favour. In the end she voted against it because of her direct experience of social workers.


How tax individualisation is even less fair in a recession

By Ruth Foley on 12 Nov 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

During the boom efforts were made to encourage as many women to work as possible. The tax laws designed to achieve this are still in place and now, because of the recession, are more wasteful and inappropriate than ever. I am writing about tax individualisation and how it favours dual income families over one-income families.


On the children’s rights referendum

By David Quinn on 9th November 2012. ~ Categories: Other

Tomorrow the country goes to the polls to vote on the proposed amendment to the Constitution. My personal opinion is that the stakes are not as high as either side is claiming. I believe the potential harm or good that Article 42A can do is limited.


Gloating and panicking after the Obama victory

By David Quinn on 8th November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

There has been plenty of gloating on the part of some Barack Obama supporters after his narrow win on Tuesday, and lots of self-flagellation and, frankly, panicking among Republican supporters. It calls to mind Corporal Jones of Dad’s Army fame (Clive Dunne (pictured) who played him died at age 92 yesterday. RIP). Some people are saying the Republican party has to ditch social conservatism, which is to say its support for unborn children and the family based on marriage, if it is to regain the White House.


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