Bishop Denis Nulty launches new ACCORD research on marriage and families

10 Feb 2015

  •  65% agree that a child is more likely to grow up happy if raised in a home with a loving mother and father
  • most young people view marriage as a life-long commitment
  • in recent years family has achieved increased importance in people’s lives

Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin and President of ACCORD, today published new research on marriage and families which was undertaken by Amárach Research.  The research was published after the blessing of engaged couple Ms Leona Gallagher and Mr Paul McNulty at the Shrine of Saint Valentine in Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Whitefriar Street Church in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

Please see remarks by Bishop Nulty which will follow separately from this press release.

Background to ‘Marriage & Families’ research

Mr Gerard O’Neill, chairman of Amárach Research, presented the findings which were based on Irish society’s attitude towards marriage and families, and these were recorded in the year 2006, and also in 2014.  In 2006 Amárach undertook a nationwide face–to–face poll of 1,000 adults, and in 2014 a comparative online poll was undertaken using a similar cohort. Today’s results seek to capture continuity and/or attitudinal change towards marriage and families over the intervening eight years.  The research sought to measure our:

–          perception of our commitment to marriage

–          value placed on the importance of family

–          attitude towards raising a child by mother and father

–          opinion on whether couples who have children ought to be married; and,

–          awareness of ACCORD and the services it offers.

Key findings from the 2014 Amárach research ‘Marriage & Families’

  • Marriage as an institution has strong support in Ireland.  In 2014 54% disagreed that it is “old-fashioned or out-moded”, and this was down from 64% in 2006.
  • In 2014 51% agreed that “most married couples I know have happy healthy marriages”, but this figure was higher in 2006 at 60%.
  • In 2014 64% believed “couples should live together first in order to decide if they would suit being married”, and this figure was slightly higher at 67% in 2006.
  • In 2014 61% considered marriage as a life-long commitment.  This has increased from 56% in 2006.  This view is particularly strong amongst young people (25 – 34 years).
  • Fewer people believe that “the importance of family is decreasing in Ireland.”  There was a fall from 64% to 54% between 2006 and 2014, indicating that family, for some, has become more important.
  • In 2014 65% of people agreed that a child is more likely to grow up happy if raised in a home with a loving mother and father.  This question was asked in 2014 but not in 2006.
  • In 2014 32% agreed that “couples who have children ought to be married” whereas 46% agreed in 2006.
  • In 2014 over half (53%) of those surveyed were aware of ACCORD, the Catholic Marriage Care Service, and this figure is the same as in 2006.

Notes to Editors

  • The Amárach research ‘Marriage & Families’, and details of the survey methodology, are available on
  • Please contact photographer John McElroy (+353 (0) 87 2416985) to obtain pictures of engaged couple Ms Leona Gallagher and Mr Paul McNulty at the Shrine of Saint Valentine.  Leona is from Castledawson, Co Derry and Paul is from Beaumont, Dublin.  The couple will be married in the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Dunboyne, Co Meath, in the Diocese of Meath on 4 June 2016.
  • ACCORD, Catholic Marriage Care Service, is an agency of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.  The first ACCORD centre in Ireland was opened in 1962 at Saint Mary’s Parish, Belfast, in the Diocese of Down & Connor.  ACCORD currently operates in 55 centres throughout the island of Ireland – North and South – and is committed to providing a professional service serving the pastoral needs of individuals at different stages in their development – in schools through its Relationship and Sexuality Education programmes; in helping couples prepare for marriage; and through its provision and support for couples and individuals through its Marriage and Relationship Counselling Service. Members come from a wide variety of backgrounds and are trained and work under supervision in accordance with best practice.  TUSLA Child and Family Agency (RoI) is the major source of funding for ACCORD in the Republic of Ireland. ACCORD also operates with the support of the Health Service Executive (RoI) and in Northern Ireland some funding comes from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (NI) and various health trusts.
  • Relics of Saint Valentine are interred in the Carmelite Church in Whitefriar Street, Dublin.  Saint Valentine, a priest in ancient Rome, is regarded as the patron saint of couples in love, preparing for marriage and of married life.  According to tradition, Saint Valentine was martyred on 14 February 250 AD.  In 1836 relics that were exhumed from the catacombs of Saint Hippolytus on the Via Tiburtina, near Rome, were identified with Saint Valentine.  These relics were placed in a casket, donated by Pope Gregory XVI, and transported to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin.
  • Father Brian McKay is Prior and Parish Priest of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin.

For media contact: the Catholic Communications Office +353 (1) 5053017; Martin Long +353 (0) 86 1727678 or Brenda Drumm +353 (0) 87 310 4444.