Treoir’, the National Federation of Services for Unmarried Parents and their Children in Ireland, is funded by the Family Support Agency which is actually a government agency under the Department of Family and Social Affairs. You may wonder why I am bringing Treoir to your attention at this particular time. The reason is as follows – at the beginning of 2011 the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Responsibilities of Cohabitants Act 2010 became law here, and huge publicity was given on national television and in the main newspapers to the first same-sex ‘ceremonies’ that took place under the new legislation.
This is where Treoir comes into the picture. It seems that the assumption is that a number of these ‘civil partnerships’ may not last, and it is also assumed that many ‘opposite-sex’ couples (that is, ‘opposite-sex’ couples who have been cohabiting for a period of up to five years and who are now automatically covered in the Civil Partnership Act) may also split up.
In the last number of weeks Treoir has been advertising strongly on both national radio and in the national media, making sure that both ‘same-sex’ and ‘opposite-sex’ couples that are contemplating a break-up of their relationship are fully aware of the provisions for compensatory maintenance, pension adjustment, property adjustment or provision from an estate, that are available under the Civil Partnership Act.
The Irish Times ‘Health Supplement’ (26 April 2011) carries an advertisement which asks: ‘Living Together? (Opposite or same sex couples) Since January 1st you may be eligible to apply for maintenance, property, pension and other benefits if your relationship ends. Contact Treoir, the organisation for unmarried parents. Be informed.’
The weekend ‘Magazine’ of the Irish Times recently carried this ad, prominently heading the Saturday television and radio programmes: ‘Cohabiting? (Opposite or same-sex couples) …’ Again, such couples are invited to contact Treoir!
Then, Treoir launched a public awareness campaign to draw the attention of the ‘tens of thousands of unmarried partners’ to all the entitlements that they may claim if their partnerships break up, or if one partner dies.
It is mind-boggling!
As I have already stated, the Civil Partnership Act came into existence at the beginning of January 2011. This is May 2011. Doesn’t it look strange that the authorities are already, and in so forceful a manner, bringing to the attention of ‘same-sex’ and ‘opposite-sex’ couples the entitlements for which they may apply should their relationships end?Are we, perhaps, seeing the real reason why the Civil Partnership Act was rushed into law, i.e., to undermine marriage and the family