Bishops, Minister issue joint statement


A delegation from the Irish Catholic bishops met Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald yesterday and agreed in a joint statement issued afterwards that “particular support for parenting and families would continue to be a priority”.

Led by Bishop of Elphin Christopher Jones, the delegation from the Council for Marriage and Family of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference met the Minister in Dublin.

They discussed the development of a child and family agency, which will be established by the Government in 2013. Also discussed was the range of pastoral services provided by the church to communities in Ireland.

The delegation emphasised the need to strengthen and support marriage in the context of current social and economic challenges facing people.

Bishop Jones expressed support for the focus given by the Government to child and family services as reflected in the establishment of a dedicated Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and he welcomed the priority being given to child safeguarding.

Ms Fitzgerald said she recognised the necessity for a robust public dialogue, among all sectors in society, on social policy issues that affect families and communities. She acknowledged in this context the merits of adopting a greater strategic approach to family policy.

She also emphasised the need for ongoing dialogue between church and State in the service of the common good, so as to identify priority areas for service delivery.