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Barnardos urges Government not to abandon children's referendum

Fergus Finlay, Chief Executive of Barnardos, has claimed that “a Constitutional referendum is urgently needed” to protect children. In a statement, he said he was dismayed by signals from the Government indicating that they were backing away from holding such a referendum on the issue of “children's rights”.

02/09/08
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Cardinal questions secularist agenda of EU

The “ prevailing culture and social agenda” being pursued by the EU appears to be predominantly secular and hostile to religion, according to the Catholic Primate of Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady.

26/08/08
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EU human rights body proposes mandatory recognition of same-sex unions

A newly created EU human rights body, the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), has called for binding EU regulations to force member states to legalise same-sex marriage.

22/08/08
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Pensioners now outnumber children in UK

Pensioners outnumber children in the UK for the first time as more and more people live longer, according to new figures.

22/08/08
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UK parents face child care crisis, as thousands leave profession

Parents in the UK are facing a severe shortage of childminders after bureaucracy prompted thousands to abandon the profession. According to new Government figures, more than 8,000 people have given up offering child care in England in just four years, more than a tenth of the total.

21/08/08
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Bigger families are happier, healthier, says new report

Children from bigger families are happier, healthier and more successful, according to new research from British think tank Civitas. The study also suggests that the middle-classes are made to feel that large families impact negatively on the environment and damage their careers.

House prices, car taxes and school policies makes it extremely expensive to raise more than two children, it says. However the study cites research showing that young people who have lots of brothers and sisters grow up happier and better-adjusted than only children.

Colin Brazier, a father-of-five who wrote the report, points to studies that have shown children from larger families get into fewer fights at school and make more friends, because they are used to negotiation and team-playing, and are less likely to develop allergies.

Older siblings create a "trickle-down" effect of knowledge to younger children in middle-class homes, he adds. He also claims that in some broken families, deprived children only learn valuable social skills from their brothers and sisters.

The report claims parents are less likely to be over-protective or pushy if they have lots of children, while young people themselves benefit from having older siblings to play with and look after them.

Mr Brazier said that an “anti-natal” culture was discouraging people from having more children. He added: "Few television advertisements show a family with more than two children. Many feature just one.

"The only child - once pitiable - is now fashionable.

"A growing canon of work exists to justify the decision to restrict family size in the interests of the environment or career.

"Respectable authors sidestep a substantial body of evidence to argue that only children suffer no material disadvantage by dint of their solitary status."

Mr Brazier, a presenter on Sky News, claims in his article in this month's Civitas Review that many British parents would like to have more than one or two children but that they cannot afford to do so. For example, State schools in the UK no longer guarantee that all children from the same family will get a place, forcing parents to take in several schools on the school-run each day.

The report points out that parents who send their children to fee-paying schools suffer as there are only "modest discounts" for having multiple siblings on the roll.

Large families suffer financially on holiday as "family tickets" invariably admit two adults and two children, Mr Brazier said, while some councils insist that parents take no more than two children into swimming pools.

The study claims environmental concerns are now increasingly being cited as reasons to charge large families more for services, with people carriers facing higher road tax and "pay-as-you-throw" bin charges likely to penalise households with more children for throwing away more rubbish.

Despite this, Mr Brazier insists there are great benefits to children, their parents and society as a whole from large families.

21/08/08

Forty per cent of married women with dependent children work in home

Forty per cent of married women with dependent children stay at home to look after them, according to new labour force figures from the CSO.

20/08/08
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INTO, Fine Gael clash over school “segregation” proposal

The INTO have described calls by Fine Gael for immigrants to be separated from other students until they can speak English as 'discriminatory, inequitable and deeply flawed'. They have also suggested that the proposal could be challenged legally.

19/08/08
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IVF criticised in leading Church journal.

An article in next month's Intercom magazine has condemned the “uncontrolled use of AHR [Assisted Human Reproductive] technology” saying that this could “lead to unforeseeable consequences for civil society”.

19/08/08
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London “divorce capital of the world”, says lawyer

London has been dubbed “the divorce capital of the world”, according to one leading UK family lawyer. The city is awarded the title because England is thought to be “the best divorce jurisdiction” for foreign claimants, according to James Turner, QC, a counsel involved in top family law cases.

19/08/08
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Dutch authorities give de facto recognition to polygamous marriages

Dutch authorities are now giving de facto recognition to polygamous marriages, according to a report in Dutch newspaper, NRC Handelsblad. Although polygamy is banned in the Netherlands, the marriages of Muslims who have several wives are recognised by Dutch authorities.

19/08/08
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Leading IVF expert says fertility clinics driven by profit

Professor Robert Winston, one of the UK's top IVF experts, has said that fertility clinics are ignoring a more successful fertility treatment in favour of IVF for commercial reasons.

15/08/08
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No Government directive on hijab: Minister

The Government will not issue a directive to schools on the wearing of the Islamic hijab headscarf in schools, according to Minister of State for Integration Conor Lenihan. Mr Lenihan said that the wearing of the headscarf was “not an issue” in most schools.

15/08/08
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Department of Education reacts to criticisms by Bishop

The Department of Education said it would "consider" criticisms made yesterday by Chair of the Bishops' Commission on Education, Bishop Leo O'Reilly of the Department's claimed policy preference for multi-denominational education.

14/08/08
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Bishop cites Iona poll to bolster parental choice argument

The Chair of the Bishops' Commission on Education, Dr Leo O'Reilly, has said the principle of parental choice must be central to education provision. Citing a poll conducted on behalf of the Iona Institute, he said that parents were overwhelmingly in favour of having the right to choose denominational education.

13/08/08
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Government planning children's rights through legislation

The Government is now looking at using legislation rather than a referendum to address concerns relating to children's rights, according to Minister for State for Children, Barry Andrews. In an interview with the Irish Times, the Minister indicated that he believed that issues such as the best interest of the child could be addressed through legislation.

13/08/08
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New schemes proposed for lone parents

Parents in receipt of the Lone Parent Allowance will be assigned welfare advisers within months of the birth of their children to help direct them towards training, education and work opportunities, under a new Government scheme.

12/08/08
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Labour MP tables motion targets religious conscience

A Labour MP has tabled a motion in Parliament that would eliminate the freedom of religious conscience of public servants. The move comes in the wake of a ruling last month in which a Christian marriage registrar who refused to carry out homosexual marriages was found to have been discriminated against on the grounds of religion.

12/08/08
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Irish women heading to European clinics for IVF treatment

Hundreds of Irishwomen are travelling to clinics across the Continent to receive IVF treatment using eggs donated from young European women.

12/08/08
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Link between TV and child behaviour problems: study

Children who watch more than three hours of television a day have more behaviour problems than other children, according to a new study.

07/08/08
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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.