Fund launched for vital perinatal counselling services and to support vulnerable mothers and children.
Press Release: Sunday, 16 February 2020
A fund in memory of renowned Irish crisis pregnancy counsellor, Sherie de Burgh, was launched last night at an event in Trinity College Dublin. The event co-hosted by Trinity College’s School of Social Work and Social Policy featured speakers including former Senator. Mary Henry, Dr. Catherine Conlon, Senator Ivana Bacik; former HSE director – Tony O’Brien; One Family CEO Karen Kiernan and Sinéad Gibney. The fund has been established to provide vital perinatal counselling services for mothers and to support vulnerable one-parent families.
Speaking at the event One Family CEO, Karen Kiernan said, “Sherie was a fearless advocate for the rights of women and their families in the decades when legislation on sexual health services presented barriers for so many. If Sherie was alive now she’d be delighted at the progress that has been made with the removal of the eighth amendment but she would be shocked that mothers and children continue to struggle for basic services and so many are homeless.”
Former Senator Mary Henry said, “Ireland in the 70s, 80s and 90s was a bleak place for those on the margins of society particularly unmarried women who were pregnant. Sherie de Burgh fought for women’s reproductive rights when it wasn’t fashionable to do so. As our society changes, it’s important to remember Sherie who quietly got on with ensuring hundreds of women and couples with crisis pregnancies were able to somehow access the services and supports they so desperately needed. This fund in Sherie’s honour will help meet some of the needs of the most vulnerable families in Ireland.”
The Sherie de Burgh Memorial Fund will help to support some of the most vulnerable children and families in the state. The fund will focus on two areas of Sherie’s work that she was particularly passionate about:
- Perinatal therapy: Perinatal therapy provides specialist therapeutic supports for mothers and their babies immediately before and after birth. The therapy works to strengthen lifelong attachments and security between mother and child. This may be particularly beneficial for mothers who have experienced an unplanned or crisis pregnancy, domestic violence or who have practical challenges such as homelessness.
- Financial support for vulnerable families:Sherie worked with some of the most vulnerable children and families in our society; families experiencing homelessness, direct provision, addiction and abuse. The Sherie fund will be used to continue Sherie’s work and to help to support vulnerable children and families when they most need it. Instances include the purchase of school uniforms, fees for education course or for baby equipment.
Sherie de Burgh:
Sherie de Burgh was renowned as Ireland’s leading and longest serving counsellor on the contentious issues of crisis pregnancy, abortion services and parenting, she fearlessly advocated for the rights of women and their families in the decades when legislation on sexual health services presented barriers for so many.
Starting her counselling career with the IFPA before progressing to One Family, Sherie had a deep empathy for the women and men she worked with. She became expert in supporting people who had very complex needs working frequently with young migrant women and parents – helping them when they had nobody else.
Sherie died after a long illness on 15 February 2017 having retired from One Family. She is still missed, loved and thought about frequently – and her courage and tenacity still guides our work today as we frequently ask ourselves ‘What would Sherie do?’ To read Sherie’s obituary written by Shelia Wayman please click here:
One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s national 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 66 22 12, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie. The askonefamily helpline can be contacted on lo-call 1890 66 22 12.
For further information visit: www.onefamily.ie
Available for Interview
Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191
Noel Sweeney, Communications and Events Manager | t: 01 622 9212 or 085 7241294