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August 21, 2005

Changing Irish Families

ONE OF THE BIGGEST changes in Ireland since I moved here 10 years ago lies in the Irish family. The changes were already afoot before my arrival but I was working with an Irish stereotype--the precious nuclear Irish family. Within a year of rolling off the boat in Rosslare I had witnessed a divorce, wife beating, and heard what later was prosecuted as incest. Things have changed in Ireland since 50 years ago--the time my family last visited the Republic.

Fifty years ago, a large proportion of Irish people were born and died at home. Today, about five in every 1000 births occur at home, compared to one in three in the early 50s. Pre-school children played at home, not in creches. Fifty years ago, about two in every three people died at home. Now 80% pass away while in hospital or nursing homes.

Things have changed because society has evolved. But I can well remember the family values that were nurtured under my boyhood roof and I wonder if the State holds them in as high esteem as I do.

Finola Kennedy -- "State moves into our homes" in The Sunday Business Post, August 21, 2005.

August 21, 2005 | Permalink


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