If we value fatherhood, we must also value marriage
From time to time in Britain you get newspaper headlines declaring that the British marriage rate has plunged to the lowest level on record. Here in Ireland we imagine it could never get like that. In this country, we imagine marriage is in rude good health. But it's not.
New figures released by the Central Statistics Office show that our marriage rate is actually lower than Britain's and is below the average for the European Union as a whole.
In Britain, only 4.5 or so people per thousand get married each year. In 2011 the Irish figure was a miserable 4.3 per thousand. In America, the figure is a much higher 6.8. The marriage rate in Ireland peaked at 7.4 back in 1973, meaning it has fallen by more than 40pc since then.