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:
- Modern Family Ep1: Same-sex parents | Friday 18 April 10.30am (Listen back here)
- Modern Family Ep2: Families with disabilities | Saturday 19 April 10.30am (Listen back here)
- Modern Family Ep3: Immigrant families | Sunday 20 April 9.30am (Listen back here)
- 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.
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.