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Iona Documents

Legal Opinion: The rights of a mother and father in light of the proposed referendum

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 opinion by Michael Collins SC and Paul Brady BL examines the Constitution, and in particular Article 41, called ‘The Family’, in the light of various rulings by the Supreme Court. 

It shows that the constitutionally protected right to marry is also a constitutionally protected right to have children. The right to marry therefore is unavoidably linked to the rights of children.

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Topics and Resources

About the Iona Institute

The Iona Institute promotes the place of marriage and religion in society. Our starting point in debates about the family is that all children deserve the love of their own mother and father whenever possible. We believe in publicly-funded denominational schools. We also promote freedom of conscience and religion.

The Iona Institute is headed by religious and social affairs commentator, David Quinn.

Some questions for those who seek our vote 

Archbishop Eamon Martin was the keynote speaker at our recent conference on the Synod on the Family. He listed some questions Catholics ought to ask their politicians as they seek our vote.

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Latest News

Party leaders refuse to back Constitutional right to life

Both the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil leaders refused to back the Constitutional protection for unborn children during the first televised debate of the general election campaign. Questioned on their own stance and their parties’ stances on the current debate around repealing the 8th Amendment in response to life-limiting foetal abnormalities, Taoiseach Enda Kenny reiterated his belief that the best way forward on the issue is to “depoliticise” it and to “to have a citizens’ assembly so that we can tease it out fully…so that we can get to a point where if we consider an adjustment to the 8th Amendment, or inserting something or taking something out, we do so with the values of our society which has changed over the last number of years”.
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Northern Ireland rejects abortion legislation

The Northern Ireland Assembly has rejected legislative changes aimed at easing the region’s abortion restrictions. In a vote at Stormont on an amendment to the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and the Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1945, Members of the Local Assembly (MLAs) rejected, by 59 to 40, a proposal to allow for terminations up to birth based on foetal abnormality. The amendment had been tabled by Alliance Party MLAs Stewart Dickson and Trevor Lunn. The latest rejection comes despite a ruling late last year by Justice Mark Horner at Belfast’s High Court that the North’s lack of exceptions in its abortion ban for babies who will die at or not long after birth, represented “a gross interference with [a woman’s] personal autonomy”.
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The Iona Blog

Admitting that the natural ties matter after all

When you can’t have a child of your own, is it better to adopt or use a surrogate? This is the question a gay couple ask of an upmarket agony aunt in the New York Times magazine. The couple’s concern (and it is a concern that could just as easily apply to a straight couple) is that they would prefer to use a surrogate so that the child has a biological connection with one of them. They wonder if this is selfish. This, and the answer given, acknowledges the importance of the natural ties.
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Recent and Upcoming Events


How should a Catholic think about politics?

The Iona Institute's next talk is by Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran on the topic, ‘How Should a Catholic Think About Politics?’ It will take place on February 23, 2016 in the Clarion Hotel, Sligo.

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Challenges for Ireland from the Synod on the family

Archbishop Eamon Martin will be the keynote speaker at our next conference which is being jointed hosted with The Irish Catholic. The topic of the conference is the Synod on the Family that took place in Rome recently.

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