Constitutional Change Needed to Respect all Families

Maeve Malone, 11, and May McCann, 7, celebrate International Day of the Family on 15 May 2008. Marking the day, One Family called for change to the definition of the family under the Irish Constitution to provide equal respect and value for all families in Ireland.

  • On International Day of the Family One Family calls for equal respect and value for One-parent Families under the Irish Constitution
  • Half a Million people in Ireland live in a one-parent family
  • 1 in 6 families in Ireland is a one-parent family
A leading national support organisation for one-parent families, One Family, is calling for equal respect and value for one-parent families under the Irish Constitution.  The call is being made to coincide with One Family’s celebration of International Day of the Family which takes place today (Thursday 15th May 2008).  The International Day of the Family is a UN initiative reflecting the need to respect the rights and values of all families throughout the world.  According to One Family the definition of a family as laid down in the Irish Constitution “is no longer valid in today’s society” and is completely “out of touch with reality” as it is defined traditionally through judicial interpretation to mean the family based on marriage.  This One Family says “excludes nearly half a million people in Ireland who are part of one-parent families.”
Facts about One-Parent Families
  • In Ireland 1 in 8 people live in a one-parent family. (Census 2006)
  • 1 in 6 families are a one-parent family. (Census 2006)
  • 1 in 5 children live in a one-parent family. (Census 2006)
  • 18% of all families or 190,000 families in Ireland today are one-parent families. (Census 2006)
  • 14% of one-parent families are headed up by fathers. (Census 2006)
  • One-parent families are at greater risk of poverty than most other families. You are 4 times more likely to live in poverty if you live in a one-parent family (EU-SILC 2006)
Karen Kiernan, Director, One Family said “It is extremely important to recognise one-parent families for the strong family units they are and we are calling on the Government to change the Irish Constitution to reflect this.  In Ireland, married families are given the highest respect and value in the Constitution often at the expense of lone-parents and families who can be vulnerable in areas such as poverty, skills and family supports.
It is imperative that the Irish Constitution gives equal respect and value to families where people are parenting alone or sharing parenting. It’s about equality for all families and particularly all children.  International Day of the Family gives us an opportunity to reflect on this and to celebrate and appreciate diversity in family life.”
One Family has being in existence for 36 years and provides a range of services for one-parent families in Ireland. Services include parenting and skills training, counselling and parent mentoring and a wide range of information supports.
For further information please contact
Catherine Joyce, Communications Manager 01 664 0125/ 086 343 2542
Karen Kiernan, Director, 01 662 9212/ 086 8509191
Editor’s Note: The International Day of the Family was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assemby in its resolution 47/237 of 20 September 1993.  The annual observance of the International Day of the Family reflects the importance that the international community attaches to families as basic units of society as well as its concerns regarding the plight of millions of families around the world.