The Iona Blog

Opinions contained in The Iona Blog are not necessarily those of The Iona Institute. The Iona Blog is open to anyone who broadly shares the views of The Iona Institute. If you wish to post a comment on a relevant topic please email 200 – 400 words to [email protected] and it will be considered for inclusion in the blog.


Atheist Ireland’s delusional vision of ‘all-inclusive’ schooling

By David Quinn on 28 Aug 15. ~ Categories: Schools and Education

Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland has outlined his wishes for Irish schools in The Irish Times. If implemented they would result in the effective elimination of every denominational school in the country, bar a few privately-funded ones. If you strip down his vision to its core, it is based on the delusion that it is possible to run a school on the basis of an all-inclusive ethos.


Euthanasia: Some grim facts

By Ben Conroy on 21st August 2015. ~ Categories: Other

Between October 2007 and December 2011, 100 people went to a clinic in Belgium’s Dutch-speaking region with depression, or schizophrenia, or, in several cases, Asperger’s syndrome, seeking euthanasia. The doctors, satisfied that 48 of the patients were in earnest, and that their conditions were “untreatable” and “unbearable,” offered them lethal injection; 35 went through with it. These facts come not from a police report but an article by one of the clinic’s psychiatrists, Lieve Thienpont.


Divorce in Ireland 20 years on. What happened?

By David Quinn on 14 August 2015. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The other day sociologist Tony Fahey was interviewed on Today with Sean O’Rourke (Keelin Shanley standing in) about marriage in Ireland twenty years after the divorce referendum. During that referendum there were the usual accusations and counter-accusations but in some respects both sides were wrong about what would happen. The anti-divorce side warned that allowing divorce would open the way to British-style divorce levels with the big caveat that this would only happen over time and not overnight. It’s true that it didn’t happen overnight, but so far it hasn’t happened at all. Twenty years on the rate of divorce in Ireland remains very low by Western standards.


The coming freeze-out of same-sex marriage opponents

By Ben Conroy on 13th August 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

It gives me no pleasure to note that social and legal situation around same-sex marriage is continuing to obey what writer and blogger Rod Dreher christened the “Law of Merited Impossibility”, which goes something like this: “legalising same-sex marriage will result in no negative consequences for religious liberty or freedom of conscience - and those bigots will deserve it everything they get.” An article in Christianity Today from three law professors, titled (somewhat optimistically) "How to Protect Endangered Religious Groups You Admire",makes the case for a First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), to protect religious groups who take stances deemed 'unacceptable' from being penalised


Church-run schools under the spotlight yet again

By Ben Conroy on 10 August 2015. ~ Categories: Schools and Education

Church-run schools, and more specifically Catholic-run schools, are under the spotlight again as a new school year approaches. There is criticism of the slowness of the bishops in handing over a set number of schools to other patron bodies such as Educate Together. However, as Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (pictured) has pointed out, when a particular school is designated for transfer, there is often a lot of local opposition.


The government's new childcare strategy is paternalistic and unfair

By Ben Conroy on 24th July 2015. ~ Categories: Other

The Department of Children has just released a report, Future Investment in Childcare in Ireland, suggesting different ways in day-care becomes more affordable for working parents. Some of the proposals, such as those to extend paid parental leave from six months after the birth of a child to a full year, are very welcome. But others are simply unfair, and the logic that undergirds the whole report too often puts the views of NGOs and the State on what is best for children above the wishes of parents.


The place of religion in Europe

By Ben Conroy on 6th July 2015. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice

"At first glance, Irish Catholics voting for same-sex marriage, British Muslims living according to sharia and French secularists chasing symbols of faith from the public sphere would seem to have little in common. Some seem to be drifting away from religion, others towards it. But according to a four-year study on religion in today’s Europe, these phenomena have a deeper link that goes beyond Catholicism, Islam or atheism. They all reflect the tensions that arise in secularised societies because of the contemporary disconnect between religion and culture." That's from an interview with Oliver Roy, a French academic and director of the EU-funded ReligioWest research project, recently published in the Tablet.


Religious freedom after same-sex marriage

By Admin on 30th June 2015. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

After the US Supreme Court legalised and constitutionalised same-sex marriage in all 50 states last week, there’s been a lot of talk about questions of religious freedom and freedom of conscience. How will dissenters from the new view of marriage fare in the new dispensation? Two pieces of writing, from UK Barrister Neil Addison and US journalist Jonathan Last, make for sobering reading - and their analyses are very relevant to Ireland's future.


Why the entire debate around abortion and the UN is missing the point

By Ben Conroy on 25th June 2015. ~ Categories: Other

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recently called for Ireland to have a referendum to repeal the eighth amendment and legislate for abortion in various circumstances, in order to bring Ireland into compliance international human rights law. A lot of the debate following has has been about this last point. Is Ireland in breach of international law? How should relevant treaties be interpreted? These discussions spectacularly miss the point. As a matter of principle, nobody should care what the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights says about abortion: and in fact, nobody really does.


How marriage makes men better fathers

By David Quinn on June 19 2015. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Father’s Day is coming up this weekend (21/6) and this article from the Institute for Family Studies shows that a father is more likely to be involved with his children if he is married to the mother of his children. That means he is more likely to have a close relationship with his children.


How mothers and fathers complement each other

By David Quinn on 5 June 2015. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

What do mothers and fathers bring to parenting that is different and complementary? This was one important issue that came up in the recent marriage referendum. Many of those on the Yes side claimed all a child needs is love, but that the sex of the parents per se (and by logical extension the biological ties) are of little importance.


The BAI backs ending public debate…on practically everything that matters

By Ben Conroy on 28th May 2015. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

In a piece in The Irish Times today Laura Slattery basically calls for a total end to the debate about same-sex marriage. She quotes from an interview she did with Michael O'Keeffe, the BAI chief executive, a while ago, and says she “asked him whether same-sex marriage would still be regarded as the subject of current public debate if the referendum were passed. Could the No side continue to insist, citing the code, that expressions of equality must be countered by faith-fuelled pronouncements? O’Keeffe responded: “On the assumption that it is passed, then it’s a legal right. For me that should probably be the end of the matter as a matter of public debate.”


Keep informed: Sign up to the Iona e-letter

By Admin on 27th May 2015. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The Iona Institute helped to represent the almost 750,000 voters who voted against the redefinition of marriage and the family on May 22. No political party was willing to represent those voters. We will continue to argue for the importance of marriage in society and for the rights of religious believers in an increasingly secularised society. To keep informed about our activities please sign up to our free e-letter.


The effects of the proposed amendment on future laws: a response

By David Quinn on 2010. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

On the "Constitution Project" blog recently, Dr Conor O'Mahony of UCC Law Department, took issue with points made by Dr Tom Finegan of Mothers and Fathers Matter on the likely effects of the proposed referendum on future laws on adoption, surrogacy and donor-assisted human reproduction. Now, Dr Finegan responds to Dr O'Mahony's critique explaining why it ignores several key factors and fails to rebut the No side's legal analysis.


Legal Opinion: Preference for motherhood and fatherhood in Irish law likely to be unconstitutional under new Article 41

By Admin on 5th May 2015. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

If we pass the marriage referendum as the Government wants it will have profound changes on how we view the family in our law. A major legal opinion commissioned by The Iona Institute examines this question. It shows that our ability to give preference to motherhood and fatherhood in Irish law will be severely and probably wholly undermined. The legal opinion is by Michael Collins SC and Paul Brady BL. The opinion examines the Constitution, and in particular Article 41, called ‘The Family’, in the light of various rulings by the Supreme Court.


"I was raised by two women - here's why I would vote No"

By Admin on 30th April 2015. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

"Heather Has Two Mommies" was a children's picture book published in 1989, about a child being raised by a lesbian couple. For Heather Barwick, this scenario was her life. Speaking at the recent interdisciplinary conference on marriage and the family, Heather told her story, saying that while she loves the women who raised her, that didn't take away her deep desire for a father.


David Quinn explains why he is voting No on RTE's This week

By Admin on 28 April 2015. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

David Quinn appeared on 'This Week' on RTE Radio One on Sunday to explain why he is voting No in the marriage referendum May 22. In particular David explained why the passage of the Children and Family Relationships Act has not taken the issue of children out of the marriage debate.


Michael McDowell believes the ideal is to be raised by a mother and father. So why not promote it?

By David Quinn on 26 Jan 15. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Former Justice Minister, Attorney General and PD member, Michael McDowell may dissent from liberal orthodoxies on matters of economics but he has always been reliably liberal on social issues and therefore it is no surprise that he is for same-sex marriage. But I’m not sure about his reasoning.


Does the Yes side believe in the ‘Irish mammy’ or not?

By Ben Conroy on April 10 2015. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Tánaiste Joan Burton (pictured) has been telling a story recently. She recounted it at the end of her speech at the Labour Party Conference, and told the Irish language online magazine too. Speaking in support of a Yes vote in the marriage referendum, Burton says that she was struck by one woman she met in Moneygall, Co Offaly, who said she wanted her son, who is gay, to "settle down". "This was an Irish mammy thing," she said. "


The modern version of ‘error has no rights’

By David Quinn on 7 April 15. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

We know a moral viewpoint has hardened and slipped its moorings when it will brook no public dissent. The pro-same sex marriage viewpoint has reached that stage. Those who do not believe in same-sex marriage are to be treated by society as the moral equivalent of racists and under certain circumstances to be prosecuted by the law. We see this happening right now in Indiana


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