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Iona Institute Director addresses PD annual conference

The Director of The Iona Institute was a guest speaker at the annual conference of the Progressive Democrats last Saturday. He urged the PDs to develop closer ties to the Churches, and also to develop a family policy that favoured marriage, while also assisting all families in need.

20/02/07
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Ireland children doing ok....ish, says new report

Ireland's children receive a pass mark in terms of child welfare, according to a major new UN report. The study, carried out by Unicef, the UN body with responsibility for children, shows that Ireland is in the middle of the league table of industrialised countries.

15/02/07
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Wording for “children's rights” vote finalised

A final wording for the Government's proposed referendum on children's rights has been decided upon, it emerged yesterday.

14/02/07
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Proposal to end stay-at-home credit “ludicrous”

Richard Bruton, the Finance spokesman for Fine Gael, and Joan Burton, Labour's Finance spokeswoman, poured scorn on the proposal to scrap the credit, which is worth E770 a year to stay-at-home spouses.

Ms Burton said that under the current tax regime, “dramatic transfers” were taking place from families with children to dual income families, many of whom were without dependents. The OECD proposal would simply exacerbate this situation, Ms Burton said. "My attitude to the OECD is 'the cheek of them,' " Ms Burton continued. "This is the most anti-family set of recommendations I have heard in a very long time. It will not be a runner here."

The Home Carers' tax credit was originally granted to defuse a huge political row after the introduction of a policy of individualisation by former Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy, designed to make it more it economically worthwhile for both husbands and wives to go to work.

The credit was introduced partly to compensate stay-at-home spouses. Individualisation was condemned at the time for discrimnating against stay-at-home spouses. The credit has stayed frozen over the last seven years. The result is that a gap of more E6000 pa can exist between a one income family and a double income family on the same income.

Fine Gael finance spokesman Richard Bruton also poured scorn on the OECD idea, branding it "ludicrous". He said last night: "I would have no time at all for this thesis. One of our biggest problems in this country is creating a framework for childcare, and it seems the OECD is totally unaware of the structural difficulties we have in comparison to other countries.

"This would seem to be a prescription for economic growth at all costs, but that is not the only consideration for society. We would have different goals." A Fianna Fail spokeswoman said simply last night: "We note the OECD observations, and our policy stands as it is."

The "Going for Growth" report seeks to reduce unemployment in OECD countries by increasing the incentives for work. In Ireland's case, it says average and marginal tax rates for second earners should continue to be reduced, which would imply moves towards full tax individualisation.

The OECD also wants child support to be more generous to those in work, as a further encouragement to people, especially lone parents, to take up employment. The female workforce here is still below the EU average.

"Child support was increased substantially, but in an unconditional way, and therefore does not improve work incentives," the report says. It also wants the early childcare supplement of €1,000 for every child under six to apply only to parents who are both in work, or at least using childcare facilities.

14/02/07

US divorce rate continues to increase among the poor: report

Divorce rates in the US continue to rise among those who have a poor educational background, new research from the University of Maryland has found.

13/02/07
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Catholic Church in Scotland prepared to “break the law” over gay adoption

The Catholic Church in Scotland has decided to fight new legislation which forces them to consider homosexual couples as potential adoptive parents.

13/02/07
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Catholic Church launches new marriage initiatives to mark UK National Marriage Week

Two major initiatives, aimed at helping to strengthen marriage, have been launched by the Catholic Church in the UK. The projects have been timed to coincide with National Marriage Week, which runs from the 7th to the 14th of February.

09/02/07
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Government set to change wording on “children's rights” referendum.

Government plans to hold a referendum enshrining new rights for children were set to undergo significant change yesterday, as reports suggested that it was considering a new wording for the proposed amendment.

07/02/07
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Tax individualisation “unfair”, say Labour and Fine Gael

The Government's controversial tax individualisation scheme has been branded unfair by the main Opposition parties.

07/02/07
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Marriage provides “moral geography” for society, says Archbishop

Married couples who stayed together are unsung “heroes” according to the head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

06/02/07
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Huge increase in divorce/separation applications since introduction of divorce

The number of applications for divorce and judicial separations has more than trebled since the introduction of divorce legislation exactly 10 years ago, according to official figures.

06/02/07
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Psychology meeting hears about effects of family breakdown

The College of Psychoanalysis debated the causes of social breakdown and crime during a meeting in the Irish Writer's Museum in Dublin on Saturday. A paper was presented by psychoanalyst and lecturer, Rob Weatherill which blamed psychoanalysis itself for many of the pathologies facing modern society, including family breakdown.

06/02/07
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Govt to propose five new provisions in Children rights referendum.

The Government plans to insert five new provisions in the Constitution aimed at strengthening children's rights and providing greater protection against child sexual abuse, according to reports.

01/02/07
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French politician faced prison over remarks about homosexuality

A French politician has been fined almost $4,000 under a French law against inciting hatred against minorities.

31/01/07
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Fatherlessness in Ecuador leads to sharp rise in youth suicide

A rise in the number of children living without their fathers has led to a sharp increase in youth suicide in Ecuador, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

30/01/07
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British Government imposing a "new morality" says Cardinal

The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, the Archbishop of Westminister, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, has accused the Labour Government of imposing “a new morality”.

30/01/07
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No adoption exemption for Church agencies

UK Cabinet ministers have poured cold water over suggestions that Catholic Church adoption agencies might be exempted from new legislation requiring them to consider homosexual couples as potential adoptive parents.

25/01/07
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Clear majority oppose lowering age of consent

An overwhelming majority of Irish people oppose a recent proposal to lower the age of consent for sexual activity to 16, according to a new opinion poll. The poll, published in the Sunday Tribune, showed that a massive 68 per cent of people are opposed to the proposal.

25/01/07
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Church leaders join forces to oppose gay adoption

Senior Church of England bishops last night added their weight to Catholic opposition to legislation requiring religious adoption agencies in Britain to consider homosexual couples as potential adoptive parents. The head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York said that "the rights of conscience cannot be made subject to legislation, however well meaning".

24/01/07
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Archbishop Martin cites Iona Institute poll.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has cited the recent Iona Institute poll on marriage and the family to back claims that many Europeans, the Irish included still back traditional values.

23/01/07
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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.