Saturday, 15 May
To mark UN International Day of Families, One Family – Ireland’s national organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating is calling for Article 41.3 of the Constitution on the definition of the family to be changed. The call comes following the publication of the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality and the publishing of the Mother and Baby Home Commission Report.
One Family/Cherish founder Maura O’Dea Richards said, “As a so-called ‘unmarried mother’ in 1970s Ireland, I felt the full weight of the Constitution on my shoulders as I struggled to raise my child alone against a system that sought to constrain us. I repeatedly saw women with no choice, who were forced to put their children up for adoption, go into Mother & Baby Homes or become homeless and outcast.
This is why I founded Ireland’s first organisation for single parents, to change how Ireland treats it most vulnerable citizens. Now, while Article 41.3 of the Constitution has little practical impact on the lives of families – I believe it is a symbol. A symbol of discrimination and isolation. It tells families they are ‘other’ they are outside our community and society. This must end, all families are entitled to respect and protection. Discrimination against families who are not married must end. Never again will they be isolated and incarcerated. Never again will they be stigmatised and shamed. We need to tell the thousands of women and their children who were imprisoned in homes and adopted against their will that we see and acknowledge their pain and this will never happen again. We need to change Article 41.3 now.”
One Family CEO Karen Kiernan said, “The recommendations of the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality to “Amend article 41 so that it would protect private and family life, with the protection afforded to the family not limited to the marital family” provides a clear pathway for our political representatives and we are asking Government to set a date for a Constitutional Referendum on Article 41.3. We are today calling on parents, other NGOs and public representative to support our call on social media on Saturday 15 May using the hashtag #WeAreFamily & #FamilyDay to make Ireland a better place for all families.”
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.
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