News | Our 45th Anniversary Media Interviews and Open Door Day

One Family celebrates 45 years in 2017. We were founded by a small group of strong, brave women in 1972. You can read more about our history here. This year, we will also be moving from Cherish House on Lower Pembroke Street, our home for over 40 years, to our new building in Smithfield, Dublin 7 next month. It is fully accessible and larger, so that we can further extend our services to support even more parents and children through difficult times.

Yesterday our founding member Maura O’Dea Richards and our CEO Karen Kiernan were interviewed on RTÉ Radio 1’s Ray D’Arcy Show. Maura shared her personal story, including how she had to hide her pregnancy and how she fought for the right to rear her child, in a passionate, funny and moving interview which you can listen to on this link.

It was an honour to receive the following message from President Michael D Higgins for Maura, which was sent to,and read out on, the Ray D’Arcy Show:

For many years single mothers in our society were an excluded group of people without a voice. I thank you for all you’ve done in promoting an inclusive citizenship by ensuring that lone parents and their children are treated with respect and are valued as a family within our society.

Your contribution to changing the landscape for lone parents in this county has been a significant one. I congratulate you for your dedication and commitment and I wish you every success in the future.

President Michael D Higgins

Today in the Irish Times, Sheila Wayman speaks with three women about their experiences of parenting alone across the generations, and across four decades, to ask what has or has not changed in Irish society in the time since our founding? Sharing their stories are our founding member Evelyn Forde, Sharon Keane and Lee Nagle. You can read the feature here.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 28 June, we invite people who would like to wish farewell to Cherish House to join us between 10am-4pm for our Open Door Day when an exhibition of photographs and archive materials will be on display at 2 Lower Pembroke Street, Dublin 2.

If you would like to support our Building Futures Fund and the refurbishment of our new building, you can find out more here.



Modern Family on Today FM featuring One Family

Modern Family is a new Today FM four-part documentary series on family diversity in Ireland, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and narrated by Ray D’Arcy and produced by Mary Carroll.

The series aims to explore the changing face of modern families. Part 4 is a focus on one-parent families and separated parents sharing parenting. It features interviews with one of our founders, Evelyn Forde, and other One Family friends and colleagues.

The four episodes will be first broadcast over this Easter Weekend as below:

  1. Modern Family Ep1: Same-sex parents | Friday 18 April 10.30am (Listen back here)
  2. Modern Family Ep2: Families with disabilities | Saturday 19 April 10.30am (Listen back here)
  3. Modern Family Ep3: Immigrant families | Sunday 20 April 9.30am (Listen back here)
  4. Modern Family Ep4: One-parent families | Monday 21 April 10.30am (Listen back here)

Note that we will update this post with links to listen back to each episode as they become available.

Further details:

Episode 1 – Same-sex parents More than two decades ago, when Bernadette and Ann decided to start a family as a lesbian couple, they were ahead of their time. Together they raised their two sons, Conor and Darragh in a society where they sometimes felt isolated and stigmatised as same-sex parents. Clare and Aishling met when they were in school. When Clare hit her 30s the pair started talking about having children. They decided to use donor sperm for artificial insemination and they now have a son, Darragh. Glenn and Adriano became the first gay couple in the state to have their civil partnership formally recognised back in January 2011. Glenn has a nine year-old daughter and shares her parenting duties with her mother.

Episode 2 – Families with disabilities Until the age of 18 Julie lived in institutions – residential centres for children with disabilities. She was one of the first children from the hospital to attend the local secondary school and was the first person in a wheelchair to be recruited in the Civil Service. She is married to Mick and has three children. She talks about the challenges she faced in 1970s Ireland, a society where disabled people were invisible. Cerebral Palsy sufferer Ken Kelly is engaged to Gillian Murray, who has Spina Bifida. They want to move in together but there is a lot that has to be considered. Kieran Coppinger is from Mervue in Galway and has Down Syndrome and he talks about his desire to find a girlfriend and his burgeoning acting career.

Episode 3 – Immigrant families Dr Moosajee Bhamjee was Ireland’s first black, Muslim TD. Originally from South Africa (born to Indian parents), he came to Dublin in 1965 where he studied medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons. He tells us how Irish society has evolved since he arrived over forty years ago. Born in Italy and raised in Sri Lanka, broadcaster and social justice activist Dil Wickremasinghe feels thoroughly Irish. She moved here fourteen years ago and as a gay woman she felt immediately welcome. Tomasz Kostienko and his family came to Ireland in 2007. Tomasz felt accepted straight away and his three children now call Ireland home but he dreams of returning to Poland.  Others have not felt so welcome. Refugee Lassane Ouedraogo arrived here from Burkina Faso seven years ago. He has found it difficult to be accepted in and has experienced racism from Irish people.

Episode 4 – One-parent families Today in Ireland, over half a million people live in one-parent families. However, a generation ago, being a lone parent was strongly disapproved of. When Evelyn Forde realised she was pregnant in 1973, she was faced with the heartbreaking dilemma of whether or not to put her child up for adoption. Labour TD Ciara Conway became pregnant in her final year of college. Her daughter Aeva-May is now 11 years old and Ciara speaks about the difficulties of juggling a hectic work and family life. Three years ago Ciara met Gary and they married at Christmas. Aeva-May talks about bringing Gary into their family. Bonnie Brady is raising her son Jayden alone. She speaks about how her life changed dramatically when Jayden arrived and how difficult it is to make ends meet and pursue her career while parenting alone. Paul and his partner separated when their son Eoin was six months old. They share parenting duties now, but spent years fighting over access. It took Paul a long time to learn that every decision he made had to be in Eoin’s best interest, not his.