Children best reared by mother and father, says poll ahead of referendum
TWO-THIRDs of adults believe children are best reared in the environment of a loving father and loving mother, according to a new survey.
The statistic is likely to provoke debate in the lead-up to the referendum on same-sex marriage in May, with some sides trying to link the issue of gay adoption.
The figures emerged from a survey by Amárach Research, which carried out the survey for the Catholic marriage support agency, Accord.
The research also found men are still more commitment-phobic than women when it comes to tying the knot but when they marry are more committed to the marriage.
More men than women see marriage as an "old-fashioned, out-moded institution", according to the poll of Irish adults on their attitudes to marriage and the family.
The difference between the sexes' perception of marriage many come down to media portrayals of marriage as a trap or those who marry as slightly foolish, said Gerard O'Neill, chairman of Amárach Research.
However, among the 1,000 adults polled nationwide, men are more committed to 'marital commitment' than women.
Women are also more likely than men to disagree that most couples they know have happy marriages.
Speaking ahead of Accord's annual church gate collection this weekend, Bishop Denis Nulty, president of the agency, said he was "very happy" with the findings, which were "a good endorsement of the institution of marriage and family life".
He noted that among younger adults, support for marriage was stronger than in the last such poll in 2006. A total of 54pc of those polled disagreed marriage is an "old-fashioned, out-moded institution".
There was also a drop in the number of adults who believe couples should live together first to decide if they would suit being married, with 64pc of those surveyed in 2014 agreeing compared to 67pc in 2006.
The research findings were unveiled after Bishop Nulty blessed engaged couple Leona Gallagher and Paul McNulty who will marry in Dunboyne, Co Meath, in 2016.
Standing in front of the shrine of St Valentine's relics in Whitefriar's Street church in Dublin, the couple said they would share their romantic day next Saturday, 14 February, with family and friends as they are holding an engagement party.
"We're going to 'share the love' on Saturday with friends and family," Leona joked.
They met through Paul's brother, who works with Leona. She said: "We got stuck in the UK because of the volcanic ash back in 2010. We got chatting and he said I have a brother that you might like to meet. I was curious and Paul got in touch."
Leona, who is originally from Co Derry and works as a safety trainer with an airline, said they were planning a church wedding and hope to settle in Dunboyne.
FINDINGS OF THE ACCORD RESEARCH ON MARRIAGE
l Marriage remains a desirable outcome for most Irish people and most expect it to be for life.
l Twice as many people agree most married couples they know are happy as disagree (51pc as opposed to 23pc)
l There has been a slight decline in support for cohabitation as a trial arrangement (64pc in 2014 compared to 67pc in 2006)
l Agreement with the lifelong commitment to marriage is higher among 25-34 year olds than several older age cohorts.
l 65pc of Irish adults believe a child is more likely to grow up happy if raised in a home with a loving mother and father. Agreement tends to rise with age but even among under 35s, nearly six in 10 agree.
l The percentage of people who believe couples who marry should make a life-long commitment to one another, to be broken only under extreme circumstances, was higher than in 2006, at 61pc compared to 54pc in 2014.
l In 2014 32pc agreed that “couples who have children ought to be married” whereas 46pc agreed in 2006.