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Sperm-donor ruling “anti-father and anti-child”

A High Court ruling that has denied access and guardianship rights to a sperm donor father was "anti-child and anti-father", according to the Iona Institute. David Quinn, the director of the Institute, said that Mr Justice John Hedigan's judgment was "badly misguided" and ignores a child's right to be raised by a father where possible. The ruling was also attacked by groups representing unmarried fathers.

18/04/08
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Judge rules that sperm donor father has no rights

The High Court has ruled that a sperm-donor father has no access or guardianship rights to his child. The case involved a sperm donor who was seeking guardianship rights in relation to a child he had fathered on behalf of a lesbian couple. The man had agreed to father the child on the basis that he would have role of "favourite uncle" to the child, and had obtained leave to seek access and guardianship rights in the Supreme Court last year.

17/04/08
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Majority of teens want lower age for drinking, report finds

A majority of teens want to see the legal drinking age being reduced from 18 to 16 as part of series of steps to tackle alcohol misuse and promote more responsible drinking, according to a report on the misuse of alcohol by teenagers launched yesterday by the Minister of State for Children.

16/04/08
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Family breakdown costs US taxpayer $112 billion per annum, research shows

Family breakdown costs US taxpayers a staggering $112 billion every year, the equivalent of $1 trillion every decade, according to new research. The study, carried out under the supervision of Dr Ben Scafidi, economics professor at Georgia College & State University, illustrates the impact of increased rates of poverty caused by family breakdown on the public purse.

15/04/08
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Leading Labour MP accuses Minister of ‘near criminal’ attack on religious schools

A leading Labour MP has accused Schools Secretary Ed Balls of carrying out a "near criminal" attack on high-performing faith schools in the UK. In an article in the Sunday Telegraph, former welfare minister Frank Field said Mr Balls was using the row to position himself for Labour's "next leadership contest".

15/04/08
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Majority believe marriage best for kids: survey

A clear majority of voters believe that married families are the best environment in which to raise children, according to a poll in the Sunday Independent. And a majority also feel that having both parents working “is not good for the development of their children”.

15/4/08
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Survey shows increase in teenagers under age of consent having sex

The number of teenagers having sex before they reach the age of consent is increasing, according to new figures released today. The figures, published in the Irish Study of Sexual Health and Relationships, also revealed that teenagers who have sex before 17 were twice as likely to experience a crisis pregnancy, acquire a sexually transmitted infection, and were more likely to have an abortion.

11/04/08
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Government minister accused of leading “witch-hunt” against faith schools

A leading Government minister in the UK has been accused of conducting a “witch-hunt” against faith schools after his claims that such schools were barring children from poorer backgrounds was undermined by evidence.

10/04/08
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Leading Garda blames “dysfunctional families” for child gangsters

Dysfunctional family life is to blame for a new and disturbing trend in which Limerick gangs are using children as young as 10 and 11 as footsoldiers. Limerick Chief Superintendent Willie Keane said that this was “a very worrying trend” and pointed out that many of the children were coming from “families where there is no great parenting skills or where the skills are not what they should be".

10/04/08
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One size fits all model “not suited to modern Ireland”: Bishop

Greater diversity in schooling, not a one size fits all model, is the best approach to education policy, according to the chairman of the Catholic Church's Education Commission. Writing in yesterday’s Irish Independent, the Bishop of Kilmore, Rt Rev Leo O'Reilly, said that parents' wishes ought to determine the future shape of education in Ireland.

09/04/08
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Senior UK family judge says families in “meltdown”

A senior family court judge in the UK has said that there is an "epidemic" of family failure which will have "catastrophic" effects on society. In a speech to family lawyers, Mr Justice Coleridge, a Family Division judge for England and Wales, said that the results of this trend could end up being as destructive as global warming. He added that the Government was failing to tackle the problem adequately.

08/04/08
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Marriage between a man and woman best place for children – Church of Ireland bishop

The Church of Ireland bishop of Meath and Kildare, Richard Clarke, has said that no-one has a right to a child. Speaking to a meeting of the Irish Council of Churches (ICC), Bishop Clarke said that he believed that, even in a secular understanding of marriage, the best place to raise a child was marriage “in the stable relationship of a man and a woman”.

04/04/08
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EU court rules that Germany must give pension rights to gay couples

The EU's top court, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that a person is entitled to their dead partner's pension in all EU states that treat homosexual partnerships similarly to marriages. The ruling. announced on Tuesday (1 April), comes in response to a case taken in 2005 by a German citizen, Tadao Maruko.

03/04/08
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Church of Ireland wants faith taught after school hours in new schools

The Church of Ireland has said that it wants denominational faith formation, such as preparation for sacraments, to be taught outside school hours in the new, multidenominational VEC-run schools to be launched in West Dublin next September. The statement is the latest development in an ongoing debate over how religious education should be handled in the new schools, and is at odds with the position taken by the Catholic Church on the issue, which feels such classes should take place during school hours.

01/04/08
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Government to give same-sex couples same rights as marriage

The Government's legislation on civil partnerships will extend almost all of the benefits and legal obligations of marriage to same-sex couples, according to a report in today’s Irish Times. Under the the heads of legislation due to appear before cabinet next week, same-sex partners will be given marriage-like rights in a range of areas such as property, social welfare, succession, maintenance, pensions and tax.

01/04/08
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Half of UK newly-weds will divorce, say figures

New UK figures show that nearly 50 per cent of newly married couples will end up getting divorced.

28/03/08
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UK to give age classifications to computer games

Age classification certificates on video games are needed to stop children accessing graphic images of sex and violence, according to a UK Government advisor. Dr Tanya Byron, a television psychologist, has also said that parents should keep computers in communal areas of the home such as the living room rather than youngsters' bedrooms so that parents can monitor which websites they visit.

27/03/08
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Marriage could become “minority format”, new figures suggest

Marriage in England and Wales is in danger of becoming “a minority format” for families with children, according to UK think-tank Civitas. The comment comes as new figures show that the rate of marriage in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest level since records began.

27/03/08
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Iona poll shows large majority support parental choice in education

The overwhelming majority of parents want the right to pick the kind of school they want for their children -- only a small minority favours suggestions that all children should go to the same kind of school in the interests of social integration, according to a poll conducted on behalf of the Iona Institute.

26/03/08
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UK Prime Minister allows free vote on embryo Bill

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has agreed to allow his ministers and MPs to vote according to their conscience when a controversial new law governing embryo research and assisted reproduction comes before the House of Commons. Previously, Mr Brown had steadfastly refused a free vote on the Bill despite a mutiny threatened by three of his Catholic Cabinet ministers and a number of Catholic MPs.

26/03/08
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"The child...shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents."

Article 7. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.