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Religious people"shouldn't leave faith at the door", Prime Minister says

Christians and people of other religions should not "leave their faith at the door" in politics, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said.

07/01/10
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US mothers believe there is a “father absence crisis”

The vast majority, 93 per cent, of US mothers believe that there is a “father absence” crisis in America, but single mothers are far less likely to have a positive view of a father's role in the family than married mothers, according to a survey carried out by a leading family research institute.

06/01/10
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Washington archdiocese pledges to fight same-sex marriage law implications

The Archdiocese of Washington DC has pledged to continue fighting to provide services without compromising the Church's stand on same-sex marriage. It has also rejected the so-called ‘San Francisco option’ as a way out of the dispute.

05/01/10
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Parenting lessons proposed in UK for 14-year olds

The UK Government is proposing lessons in parenting for 14-year-olds.

05/01/10
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UK quango questions pharmacists’ right not to distribute Morning-After-Pill

A Government quango in the UK is questioning whether pharmacists should still be free to decline distributing the Morning-After-Pill.

05/01/10
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Remove barriers to single parent employment, say campaigners

Barriers preventing lone parents from working need to be removed, according to OPEN, an organistation representing 80 lone parent groups.

Responding to suggestions by the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Mary Hanafin, about phasing out the one-parent family payment when children reach the age of 13, OPEN director Frances Byrne said that she welcomed the ensuing debate.

“Most lone parents absolutely want to work and contribute to society and the economy,” Ms Byrne said.

“But the reality is that the barriers that exist, like childcare, access to education and training, are still real. On top of which we are now in recession.”

Ms Hanafin told The Irish Times that the Government’s current policy was not working. Continuing to make the payment until children are 22 if they remain in full-time education meant that lone parents were discouraged from having stable relationships, marrying or taking full-time jobs, the Minister said.

She accepted that some Cabinet colleagues would be “sensitive” and “wary” about changing the policy, but has insisted that the issue should be formally discussed by Government.

The OECD has this year criticised Ireland’s relatively high level of spending on single-parent welfare benefits.

In a
report comparing 30 developed countries, the OECD said that Ireland, the UK and New Zealand spent significant sums on lone-parent benefits that lasted until children were well into their teens.

“There is little or no evidence that these benefits positively influence child wellbeing, while they discourage single-parent employment,” the report said.

Meanwhile, Ms Hanafin said that unmarried parents should put the father’s name on the birth certificates of their children “as a norm”. There is currently no obligation to do so.

She referred to the Law Reform Commission’s recent proposal to encourage this in an interview on Newstalk radio.

“Personally, as a norm, I think the father’s name should be on the birth cert. A child has both parents, and I think a child is entitled to know and to have the support of those parents,” Ms Hanafin said.

She said that she knew there could be difficulties in cases of rape, incest “or some other horrific crimes” when the mother might not want to name the father.

More than 87,800 people were in receipt of the one-parent family payment in 2008.

Expenditure on the payment increased by 10.9 per cent last year to more than €1 billion. Just over 1,800 of those who received the payment were men.

05/01/10

Government proposes changes to Lone Parent Allowance

Lone parent benefits may come to an end once a child reaches the age of 13 under a new scheme being suggested by the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Mary Hanafin. One billion euro is paid out in lone parent allowances each year.

29/12/09
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Labour’s anti-marriage policy a “mistake”, says senior minister

A senior Labour minister in the UK has signalled a major U-turn by the Government on the issue of marriage.

30/12/09
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Swedish authorities take child from homeschooling parents

A Swedish court has upheld the right of Swedish authorities to seize a child from a homeschooling Christian couple who were about to leave the country to become missionaries in India. There was no evidence of abuse. One of the complaints against the couple is that the child was not properly vaccinated.

30/12/09
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Churches will need to defend themselves against Equality Bill, UK Minister admits

Churches should be “lining up” lawyers to defend themselves against secular legal challenges under the Equality Bill, a Government equalities minister has admitted.

23/12/09
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Minister supports lowering age of consent

Minister of State for Children Barry Andrews has said he personally supports lowering of the legal age of consent to 16.

23/12/09
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Photographer loses appeal on same-sex "committment ceremony" decision

Lawyers for a small photography company in New Mexico charged with violating anti-discrimination laws for refusing to photograph a same-sex “commitment ceremony” are planning to appeal a court decision to uphold the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission’s ruling against them.

23/12/09
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Opposition mounts to proposal to make contraception access easier for teens

Doctors and parents groups have added their voices to a growing chorus of opposition to a proposal by the Law Reform Commission (LRC) for children aged as young as 14 to be allowed access to contraception without parental knowledge. The age of consent in Ireland for sex is 17.

22/12/09
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Minister defends religious schools

Minister of Education Batt O’Keeffe has defended the existence of religious schools, saying that schools with a Christian tradition had played "an outstanding part" in Irish education.

22/12/09
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Christmas parties increasing demand for morning-after pill

Christmas parties pushing up demand for the morning-after-pill, it is being reported.

18/12/09
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Primary principals’ network wants named bishops removed

The group which represents the principals of Irish primary schools has called for bishops named in the Murphy report to step aside as patrons of schools.

18/12/09
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Minister for Education to look again at funding for Protestant schools

Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe has offered to review funding for Protestant schools after discussions yesterday.

18/12/09
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Jewish school found guilty of race discrimination for only admitting Jews

A Jewish school has been found guilty of race discrimination by the UK's Supreme Court for refusing places to pupils it did not consider to be ethnically Jewish.

18/12/09
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Respect right of schools to display religious symbols, say YFG

The International Committee of Young Fine Gael (YFG) has condemned the recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that crucifixes should not be displayed in Italian public schools.

17/12/09
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Committee finalises children's rights referendum wording

The Oireachtas Committee on children’s rights has finalised the wording of an amendment that could be put before the people as early as next year, the chairwoman of the committee, Mary O'Rourke, said yesterday.

17/12/09
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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.