Press Releases

Abolition of Rule 68 another attack on the rights of faith-based schools

     9 Dec 2015

The unilateral decision by Education Minister, Jan O’Sullivan, to abolish Rule 68, is another attack on the rights of faith-based schools. Rule 68 helps to protect the ethos of faith-schools.
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Demand for non-religious schools is very low, says Church of Ireland Education Secretary

     15 Oct 2015

Around 200 primary schools throughout the country out of the existing 3,300 schools would serve the needs of parents who want a non-religious education for their children, according to the Secretary of the Church of Ireland Board of Education, Dr Ken Fennelly.
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National conversation needed about the future of marriage

     25th May 2015

There are now clearly two very different views in Irish society about the nature of marriage. However, it remains a fact that marriage still has special status in the Irish Constitution and therefore in Irish society as well. The Yes side in the marriage referendum said it highly values marriage and this is why it wanted marriage extended to same-sex couples. The No side clearly also believes in the special value of marriage. This being so, The Iona Institute believes that both sides should enter a conversation about how to strengthen marriage in Irish society. They should enter a discussion about how to encourage marriage, how to promote marriage and how to reduce rates of marital breakdown.
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Congratulations to the Yes side on their win

     23rd May 2015

We would like to congratulate the Yes side on winning such a handsome victory in the marriage referendum. They fought a very professional campaign that in truth began long before the official campaign started. For our part, The Iona Institute is proud to have helped represent the many hundreds of thousands of Irish people who would otherwise have had no voice in this referendum because all of the political parties backed a Yes vote. The Iona Institute would like to thank the thousands of volunteers up and down the country who worked day and night to try and secure a No vote.
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'No' side finishing strongly

     21st May 2015

Several thousand volunteers all over the country have been tirelessly leafletting, canvassing and putting up posters for the last few weeks and months calling on people to vote No. As the campaign has progressed, more and more volunteers have come forward wanting to do their bit to defend the current constitutional definition of marriage and the family. The No campaign has gained in energy and confidence over the course of the last four weeks. Commenting, David Quinn of The Iona Institute said: “At the end of the day, the No campaign is defending the common sense idea that mothers are different from fathers, and that the union of a man and a woman is special and unique and different from any other kind of relationship that people can form."
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Response to Mary McAleese’s comments today on the marriage referendum

     19th May 2015

Mary McAleese has commented again today on the marriage referendum. She said this morning: “The only children affected by this referendum will be Ireland’s gay children. It is their future which is at stake. It is in our hands. They are too few in number to win this referendum on their own.” Her comments are very understandable in light of the fact that her son, Justin, is a gay man. However, in a way her comments also show the vital that mothers play in the lives of their children.
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Referendum Commissioner’s comments on surrogacy and adoption deeply contradictory

     9th September 2015

Comments by Judge Kevin Cross on Morning Ireland today concerning adoption and surrogacy seem very hard to reconcile with previous comments he has made on these topics. He told Morning Ireland that the referendum is not to do with either surrogacy or adoption. However, last week he admitted that if the marriage referendum passes it would be “difficult to imagine” how a future Oireachtas could pass a law that would prefer opposite-sex married couples over same-sex married couples when regulating surrogacy.
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Education Minister’s assurances concerning what Church schools can teach ‘almost worthless’

     18th May 2015

Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan’s assurances today that Church-run schools will have not to teach a version of marriage that is not in line with their ethos is “almost worthless”, the Iona Institute has said today. A number of Catholic bishops expressed concern over the weekend about what they will be allowed to teach in Catholic schools should the referendum pass. Responding, Jan O’Sullivan said today that the school curriculum will not be changed in the event of the Constitutional definition of marriage changing.
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Government cannot pretend marriage referendum has nothing to do with surrogacy

     18th May 2015

It has been reported today that the Yes side are worried that the surrogacy issue may help to defeat the marriage referendum on Friday. The Yes side are trying to convince the public that the referendum has nothing to with surrogacy. This is entirely false. The Referendum Commission has already confirmed that, in the event of the referendum passing, it would be “difficult to imagine” how we could pass a law that would favour opposite-sex married couples over same-sex married couples when regulating surrogacy.
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Archbishop Martin right to raise fears for future freedom of the ChurchArchbishop Martin right to raise fears for future freedom of the Church

     18th May 2015

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is right to raise concerns about the implications for the freedom of the Church if the marriage referendum is carried next Friday. In his pastoral reflection on the marriage referendum released this weekend, he says: “Some say that the change will not affect those who do not agree with it and will not affect marriages which take place in Church. No politician can promise that, since it will be exclusively up to the courts to interpret the changed Constitution”.
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Response to Daniel O’Donnell’s remarks in favour of a Yes vote

     15th May 2015

Daniel O’Donnell explained today on RTE why he will be voting Yes in next week’s marriage referendum. He said how he did not necessarily feel that all children should have a mother and a father and explained how he grew up without a father because his father died when he was very young. He told the Ray D’Arcy Show: “I was brought up without a father. My father died before I knew the benefit of a father. It was just my mother.” Daniel also said: “All of the people who know they’re talking about are telling us that it’s absolutely no difference who brings up the children, as love as they’re brought up in a loving environment.” Responding to his comments, Professor Casey of The Iona Institute said: “Daniel’s comments are obviously absolutely sincere and heartfelt. It is a good thing that Daniel is focussing on children in this debate. “Children can, of course, lose a mother or a father through circumstance. It is tragic when a child’s parent dies. The remaining parent will almost always do a very fine job raising their children alone. “But there is a world of difference between losing a parent through circumstance and by deliberate design. Unfortunately, if we vote in favour of this referendum the result will be that a certain number of children will be deliberately raised without a mother or a father from the very first day of their life with the full blessing of the State.”
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Iona Institute welcomes Ref Com’s latest comments on surrogacy, adoption and AHR

     15th May 2015

The Iona Institute has today welcomed comments made in various media by Judge Kevin Cross, head of the Referendum Commission, about surrogacy, adoption and Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR). Last week The Iona Institute issued a legal opinion on how the proposed new Article 41 of the Constitution, if passed, would affect the ability of a future Oireachtas to give preference to a married opposite sex couple compared with a married same-sex couple in laws pertaining to surrogacy, adoption and AHR.
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Maureen Gaffney needs to withdraw remarks likening No voters to Nazis and racists

     14th May 2015

Comments by Maureen Gaffney today that effectively liken those who do not want marriage redefined with Nazis and racists are indefensible and must be withdrawn immediately. Responding to Dr Gaffney’s comments, Professor Patricia Casey said: “What Dr Gaffney has said is appalling and must be withdrawn immediately. She claims she is not making a direct comparison between No voters on the one hand, and Nazis and racists on the other, but that is exactly what has done."
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Accord’s funding was slashed despite increase in Tusla budget and a grant from Atlantic Philantrophies

     13th May 2015

The decision by the State’s child and family agency, Tusla, to bring a complete end to State funding of Accord’s marriage preparation courses is even more appalling in light of the fact that Tusla’s funding by the State was increased by €26 million in the last Budget and it has been awarded an €8.3 million grant from Atlantic Philantrophies. Commenting, David Quinn of The Iona Institute said: “The cut is now even more indefensible in light of the fact that Tusla’s funding was increased by €26 million in the last budget.
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Decision to slash State funding of Accord is appalling and indefensible

     13th May 2015

The decision by the State’s child and family agency to bring a complete end to State funding of Accord’s marriage preparation courses is “appalling and indefensible”, The Iona Institute has said today. The funding amounted to almost €400,000 annually. Commenting on the decision, The Iona Institute says: “This decision certainly adds to fears already expressed by the Catholic bishops over what will happen to marriage counselling organisations that believe marriage can only be the union of a man and a woman."
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