Essay Title: Discuss the influence of the Catholic Church on the development of Social Policy in Ireland since 1922.
Word Count: 1,427
In Ireland since the founding of the Free State in 1921, there has been present a Catholic influence on the Government's policy making, this was based upon a set of values that were rooted in patriarchal rural living , and also left class distinctions and inequality between men and women in place (Considine & Dukelow, 2009, p25). According to Coyne (1951)
“The Church speaks to the State as fully an equal, not as a subordinate part, or in any way dependent on, or drawing its powers from, the State”
(Coyne, 1951, p132; cited in Considine & Dukelow, 2009, p27).
As can be seen in Quadragesimo Anno, written by Pope Pius XI (1931), the Church considered that it had equal authority on the subjects of moral and social questions (Considine & Dukelow, 2009, p27). The Church gained so much power in Ireland through a number of ways, including its support of Ireland's bid for independence, the strength of faith by the Irish population (the majority of which were practising Catholic) and through the Government's practice of subsidiarity (mainly in social areas such as women, children, healthcare provision and education)(Kiely et al, 1999, p150).
The Church holds the view that small groups should carry out roles and functions of social provision and should not be assumed by larger entities unless necessary. This is the principle of subsidiarity (Reynolds & Healy, eds, 2007, p13).
In Ireland, this meant that the provision of Social Services were the responsibility of the Church rather than the State. This also meant that State intervention was shaped by Catholic teachings and views on families, women and men (Considine & Dukelow, 2009, p30). Within this essay I will discuss several Government Acts since 1922 and the influence of the Catholic Church and its teachings evident within these policies.
Within the Irish...