Photocall diary notice for blessing of engaged couple at the Shrine of Saint Valentine in Dublin

08 Feb 2016

  • Publication of 2015 data for ACCORD, and Amárach Research analysis of 2007 – 2015 counselling trends

The Feast of Saint Valentine will be celebrated on Sunday 14 February next.  You, or a representative, are invited to a photocall for the blessing of an engaged couple (details below) at the Shrine of the holy relics of Saint Valentine in Dublin city.  Details:

Time and date: Tuesday 9 February 2016 at 3.30pm at the Shrine of Saint Valentine.

Venue: Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Whitefriar Street Church in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

In attendance: Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin and President of ACCORD Catholic Marriage Care Service, will bless the engaged couple Ms Deirdre Eighan from Rochfortbridge, Mullingar, and Mr Sean Whelan from Ballinea, Mullingar.  Deirdre works for Aer Lingus as a member of its cabin crew and Sean is a personal insurance advisor with insurer FBD.  The couple met when they were attending a repeat Leaving Certificate course in CBS Mullingar, and will be married on 12 May 2017 in Saint Michael’s Church, Castletown Geoghan in the Diocese of Meath.  Representatives of ACCORD will also be in attendance.

Publication by ACCORD of 2015 data for marriage preparation and counselling; and 2007 – 2015 Accord Counselling Trends in Ireland, North & South by Amárach Research

The Saint Valentine’s photocall will coincide with the publication of the 2015 figures for ACCORD.  These figures will indicate trends in demand during 2015 for ACCORD’s two key services: marriage preparation, and marriage and relationship counselling.  Also to be published will be an analysis, by Amárach Research, of the trends in relationship problems as presented by ACCORD clients attending marriage counselling sessions between the years 2007 – 2015.

Notes to Editors

  • Father Brian McKay OCarm is Prior and Parish Priest of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin.  Photographs from the blessing of the engaged couple will also be available to media from John McElroy on 087 241 6985 and[email protected].
  • Holy 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 where they continue to be venerated by the faithful to this day.
  • 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.  ACCORDcurrently 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.
  • Today’s analysis was undertaken by Mr Gerard O’Neill, Chairman of Amárach Research.  It reviews trends in relationship problems as presented by clients attending ACCORD marriage and relationship counselling sessions between the years 2007 – 2015.  Previously, on behalf of ACCORD, Amárach Research has conducted a nationwide face-to-face poll in 2006 regarding attitudes to marriage and family.  It undertook a comparative online poll in April 2014 of 1,000 adults.  This 2014 survey, entitled The Meaning of Marriage, sought to capture the continuity and/or change in Irish society’s attitude towards marriage and family in the intervening eight years.


For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444