Separated fathers


Madam, - One can only hope (probably in vain) that the sentiments expressed by Dr Martin McAleese, as reported in your edition of June 13th, are taken on board by the incoming government.

According to the report Dr McAleese said that "to reduce a father to an absence or just a sum of money is to ignore the potential he has as a benign stabilising influence in his child's life". Unfortunately, the massive body of family legislation on the statute books envisages no role for fathers other than as financial providers for women and children.

The Barnardos "Da project", which Dr McAleese was visiting, may in some small way support the more active inclusion of fathers in child-rearing. However its potential is undermined by State policies and legislation designed to marginalise and impoverish men and fathers.

There is little point in preaching about the value of fatherhood to a man who has been banished to a bedsitter, legally designated as "the inferior parent" (because he is male), forced to take on a second job to pay the family home mortgage as well as his rent and impoverished because he must continue to carry all, or most, of the burden of providing for the family. - Yours, etc,

FRANK McGLYNN, Amen, Railway Street, Navan, Co Meath.