DUBLIN, DEC. 17, 2012 (Zenit.org).- A delegation from the Council for Marriage and Family of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, led by Bishop Christopher Jones, met on Friday with Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in Dublin.
One of the areas discussed was the development of the new Child and Family Agency which will be established by the Government in 2013
Emphasis was placed on the work of the Bishops’ Council for Marriage and Family which focused in particular on Accord, a Catholic marriage care service. In addition, the meeting discussed the range of pastoral services that are provided by the Catholic Church to communities throughout Ireland.
Both parties agreed that particular support for parenting and families would continue to be a priority. The Church delegation placed a particular emphasis on strengthening and supporting marriage especially in the light of the current social and economic challenges facing people at the present time.
Bishop Jones expressed support for the focus given by Government to child and family services which is reflected in the establishment of a dedicated Department of Children and Youth Affairs. He also welcomed the priority being afforded to child safeguarding.
Minister Fitzgerald recognized the necessity for a robust public dialogue, among all sectors in society, on social policy issues that affect families and communities. The Minister acknowledged in this context the merits of adopting a greater strategic approach to family policy.
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs also emphasized 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, particularly given the current budgetary constraints which prevail.
Bishop Jones and Minister Fitzgerald agreed to meet again in the future to continue their dialogue on the optimal delivery of services to support family and marriage.