Press Release | Cherish/One Family Celebrates 45 Years of Achievement for Lone Parents Including Abolition of Status of Illegitimacy

Press Release

Cherish/One Family Celebrates 45 Years of Achievement for Lone Parents Including Abolition of Status of Illegitimacy

Reiterates that Government Action is Needed Now to Stop Rising Rates of Child Poverty

 Organisation moves to Smithfield, Dublin 7 in July

(Dublin, Tuesday 27 June 2017) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone and sharing parenting – celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2017. One Family was founded as Cherish in 1972. In that year, Maura O’Dea Richards placed an ad in the paper in the hope of reaching other women who were unmarried with children. A small group of brave, determined women soon banded together and went on to provide supports and services and to campaign for change despite widespread societal resistance. One Family relocates to a more accessible and larger building in Smithfield, Dublin 7 in July to be able to offer services to more parents and children in one-parent families.

Two of the organisation’s most significant achievements were the introduction of the unmarried mother’s allowance in 1973, as the One Parent Family Payment was then called, and the abolition of the status of illegitimacy in 1987. This work has continued and expanded. A name change to One Family in 2004 recognised the new diversity of family forms headed by one parent. Today, while society has progressed, many of the same barriers that must be overcome by people parenting alone as they attempt to access employment and education remain; and the Constitution, far removed from the reality for today’s families, still only recognises the married family form.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, comments: “Tomorrow we will also release our Annual Review for 2016, highlighting that child poverty rates continue to increase and that one-parent families remain those most at risk of consistent deprivation. This is a direct result of the barriers that prevent people who parent alone from accessing sustainable employment and education opportunities, such as lack of affordable childcare and secure housing. We saw an increase in 2016 of clients becoming, and at risk of, homelessness. We also saw a significant increase in calls to our askonefamily helpline from parents who are separating, particularly in requests for supports for children experiencing parental separation.

Karen continues: “We are proud to celebrate our 45th year and all that has been achieved to date. Our history inspires us to never give up. We will continue to fight to ensure that Government takes urgent, real action to stop the rising rates of child poverty in Ireland today and to ensure provision of the services and supports that lone parents and separating parents and their children need.”

Tomorrow, Wednesday 28 June, Cherish House and its decades of history will be celebrated with an exhibition featuring photographs, documents, letters and other items from One Family’s archives. An Open Door Day runs from 10am-4pm and members of the public with connections to Cherish/One Family are invited to visit 2 Lower Pembroke Street, Dublin 2 to share their memories of Cherish House.

One Family’s Annual Review 2016 is available to read here.

One Family is fundraising for refurbishment of its new headquarters in Smithfield. Information can be found here.


About One Family One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and celebrates its 45th year in 2017 when the organisation will also relocate to Smithfield, Dublin 7. It is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families and people sharing parenting, or separating, offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those sharing parenting, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to professionals working with one-parent families. Children are at the centre of One Family’s work and the organisation helps all the adults in their lives, including mums, dads, grandparents, step-parents, new partners and other siblings, offering a holistic model of specialist family support services.

These services include the lo-call askonefamily national helpline on 1890 662212, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day every May, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today (

For further information, visit

Available for Interview

Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191

Valerie Maher, Policy & Programmes Manager | t: 01 662 9212

Further Information/Scheduling

Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 622 9212 or 087 414 8511