One Family calls for national debate on what family means

Press Release

Let’s make Family Day meaningful for all families –

the Constitution is out of step with reality, it’s time for change

(Dublin, Tuesday 14 May) Tomorrow, Wednesday 15 May is UN International Day of the Family and One Family, Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families, calls for a national debate on what family means in Ireland today.

One Family CEO Karen Kiernan explained: “We are asking the Constitutional Convention to build on the good work that they have been doing and add an additional item to their agenda to look at Articles 41 and 42 which deal with the family. In particular a review of Article 41.3.1° would support some of the other issues already debated such as same sex marriage and women’s role.”

One Family has consistently called to have the Constitution expanded to recognise and protect all kinds of families and not just the marital family since its establishment in 1972 as Cherish. This issue was examined by the All Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution in their Tenth Progress Report on the Family which was published in 2006. Due to fears of divisiveness no recommendations for change were made in relation to a referendum on the definition of the family.

Kiernan further comments: “The Constitution is clearly out of step with today’s society, family life and demographics as 1/3 of all births are to parents not married to each other, 1 in 5 children live in a one-parent family and same-sex families are on the increase. To mark this and to celebrate the great family diversity that exists in Ireland today, One Family will host our third major event marking Family Day this Sunday in Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens.”


  • Article 41.3.1° states that “[t]he State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded”.
  • Family Day, presented by One Family and EBS, is a national celebration calling on families all over Ireland to celebrate their family and celebrate family diversity on 19 May.
  • As well as a free, fun Family Day picnic with entertainment, workshops, sports and more on Sunday 19 May in the Iveagh Gardens, Dublin 2 from 11am-5pm, children around the country can enter an art competition on the theme of “My Family is …”
  • Full information on

About One Family

One Family was founded in 1972 and is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to those 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 622 212, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today, with events taking place this year on 19 May ( For further information, visit

Available for Interview

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