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In October 1972, a group of young, single mothers replying to a letter in the Evening Herald newspaper came together to form Cherish/One Family to advocate for the rights of unmarried mothers - 50 years later we're still going strong. In this month's edition, we look at our 50th anniversary celebrations, we explore the role of pregnancy counselling at the 3rd annual Sherie de Burgh commemorative seminar, we have a fun-fundraiser date for your diary, policy updates and more. 
Proud to be 50 years supporting one-parent families in Ireland

One Family has been a force of change in Irish society since our foundation as Cherish in 1972; this year we celebrate our 50th Anniversary.

We celebrate the bravery and foresight of our founders who set up Cherish in a time of struggle and heartache for many unmarried parents. They were all young women who were unmarried and parenting on their own. “It was all so crazy then, even I don’t believe it now,” says founder of Cherish, Maura O’Dea Richards. “Cherish came into existence just when the old order was beginning to give way, when women’s voices were being heard again. The tight-woven fabric of de Valera’s Ireland, which had given draconian power to the Catholic Church, was finally loosening, though not yet ready to unravel.”

Our founders lobbied government officials and within a year of our establishment, achieved the introduction of the Unmarried Mother’s allowance (as it was called then, now the One Parent Family Payment). By 1977, the founders of Cherish had secured a Dublin headquarters and enlisted Mary Robinson as their president. Maura appeared on the Late Late Show, and won an Irish Times Person of the Year Award in 1975. In 1987, after many years of campaigning, Cherish celebrated the Status Of Children Act which abolished illegitimacy.

This year we will be looking back at our first 50 years with memories from our archives including interviews with our founders, video and audio recordings. We  hope as many people as possible join us in this celebration and  also to help us campaign for a change to article 41.3 of the Constitution on the definition of the family. Currently only married families are protected by the Constitution, excluding many families, including one-parent families we will be campaigning for a more inclusive definition that protects all families and we hope for your support. To view our 50th anniversary pages please click on the button below.  

Pictured below our founders with Mary Robinson, first President of Cherish/One Family.


50th anniversary pages
New Futures Employability Programme is enrolling!
Are you parenting alone and thinking about returning to work or education? Applications for online delivery of our award-winning, ESF funded, New Futures Employability Programme are now open for February 2022. To find out more contact Niamh on or 01 662 9212 click on button below for further information. To read stories of previous New Futures participants click here

No classes take place during school holidays.
Learn more
What would Sherie do? The future of pregnancy counselling in Ireland - a seminar

Sherie de Burgh was a pioneering figure in pregnancy counselling in Ireland. She supported many women in the darkest of years when not only was abortion unavailable in Ireland, but information on abortion care providers in Britain was censored.  In the third of the series of annual seminars organised by One Family in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin’s School of Social Work and Social Policy commemorating Sherie, we explore the role of pregnancy counselling practice in Ireland – past, present and future. Details are below. For more information on the seminar click on the button at the end of this article.

Details of the seminar:

Date:  Tuesday 15 February

Time: 7.00pm – 8.15pm

Location: via Zoom

Chair: To be confirmed.


  • Dr. Catherine Conlon, Assistant Professor, Social Policy School of Social Work and Social Policy Trinity College Dublin
  • Karen Kiernan, Chief Executive Officer, One Family – Ireland’s national organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating
  • Anne McCarthy, Lead Tutor, Crisis Pregnancy Counselling Skills and Masterclass Programme, Department of Adult and Community Education Maynooth University


To register for the seminar please contact us at: or telephone: 01-662 9212

Sherie deBurgh seminar
Fun fundraiser in Smithfield

One Family is delighted to have the support of Third Space, Smithfield Sq, Dublin 7 for their first Square Meal event in 2 years. Please come and join us on Friday 25 February from 7-9pm. Guests are welcome from 6:30pm and dinner will be served at 7:30pm. 
As part of their Square Meal initiative, Third Space provide all the food for free, the staff work for free, you enjoy a beautiful meal in the company of lovely people and you donate what you think the meal was worth/what you can afford. All the funds go to One Family so that we can continue to support families most in need.
You can BYOB if you want and children are very welcome. You can book directly with Third Space on 01-529-7208 or email: Thanks for your support!

Third Space Fundraiser
Policy and media:

One Family made three major submissions over the last two months: (click on links to read submissions)

While on Tuesday, 25 January,  our CEO Karen Kiernan and Policy Manager Niamh Kelly appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to discuss Child Poverty. You can watch Karen and Niamh's contribution from 2.26:…

In the Media:
Issues facing one-parent families have been prominent in the media with One Family and other NGOs advocating on behalf of families. Please see below a selection of stories from the month:

Policy submissions


One Family, 8 Coke Lane, Smithfield, Dublin 7.
t: +353 1 662 9212 | e:
askonefamily lo-call helpline: 1890 662 212
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Trading as One Family, Cherish CLG is a company limited by guarantee not having a share capital, registered in Dublin, Ireland with registered office at 8 Coke Lane, Dublin 7 and registered Company Number 45364. One Family is also a charity (Charity Regulatory Authority No. 20012212 and Charity No. 6525).

Directors of One Family:  Helen Hall, Jennifer Good, Nuala Haughey, John-Mark McCafferty, Eimear Fisher, Edel Fagan and Jack Eustace.


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