‘The Sophia housing project is an excellent intensive residential intervention, but sometimes, much more low-key and local initiatives can prevent people ever reaching an extreme stage such as homelessness or facing a care order.’ above, children playing at the Sophia housing project. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Opinion: Local women are trained to help young mothers before other services might be needed

‘I believe Gerry Adams  when he says that he prioritised the peace process so that no young person would have to kill or maim in the name of freedom. However, it is still utterly chilling that he seems to believe that violence was perfectly understandable in the absence of such a process.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Opinion: ‘While many look at Gerry Adams and think of the thousands who died in an unwinnable battle, his acolytes see the man who(...)

‘Pope Francis called for discussion on family life, and we are getting discussion, but we have not been used to grown-up discussion in the Catholic Church. Instead, we have been excellent at mutual excommunication, and caricature.’ above, Pope Francis waves to members of the media as he leaves a morning session of  the synod on family issues, at the Vatican. Photograph: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

Opinion: Priest helped unmarried parents to gradually build foundation for family

‘The report points out astonishing anomalies in the way that children’s cases are treated. Take the issue of care orders, where children are taken into the care of the State, usually into foster care, for their own safety.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Opinion: ‘Early intervention and support could prevent a great deal of grief later on’

  ‘Pope Francis’s decision to go to Lampedusa early in his ministry reflected that concern, and few institutions understand better the push/pull factors that underpin forced migration, particularly in the developing world.’ Above, Pope Francis  recently  met  some migrants who survived the boat sinking on  October 3rd, 2013 off the island of Lampedusa.  Photograph: L’Osservatore Romano

Opinion: Complex pastoral challenges raised by cultural norms and demographic shifts

‘It is probably wise that the revised scheme of Bill issued this week declines to deal with surrogacy, given that there is a current Supreme Court case.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Opinion: Unmarried fathers are still not automatically entitled to guardianship rights

A woman touches an icon of the Virgin Mary during a pilgrimage to    Lourdes .... “inside the Domain, there is a intensely spiritual atmosphere, even when you are not taking part in a procession”. , southwestern France, on August 24,   (Photo: Remy Gabalda/AFP/Getty Images)

‘People rarely talk about how so many charities would fall apart without the fundraising done by students ’

Monica O’Connor  being taken by gardaí from her home  to prison. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

Opinion: Would better communication and a change of culture have helped both the Kings and Monica O’Connor?

‘In the early 2000s, senior social care managers and police continued to believe that the scale of the problem was exaggerated.’ Above, a protest outside Rotherham police station following the publication of the child exploitation  report. Photograph:  Lynne Cameron/PA

Opinion: It is naive to believe the Irish Child and Family Agency can overcome all the flaws of the previous regime in a short ti(...)

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