Ireland must debate soaring extramarital births, says leading psychiatrist

A leading Irish psychiatrist has called for a national debate on the benefits of raising children in a married setting, Family and Life report. Dr Patricia Casey, Professor of Psychiatry at University College Dublin and consultant psychiatrist in the Mater Hospital, Dublin was reacting to new figures which show that more than a third of births were registered outside marriage in the first three months of this year.

The Central Statistics Office report, Vital Statistics for the First Quarter 2010, also revealed that the highest percentage of extramarital births occurred in Limerick City, at 62%.

"We know that children born to single parents have more difficulties socially than those born into two parent families. Even if children are born into relationships outside marriage, scientific literature points to the fact that they tend to break up easily and having a child puts a strain on that relationship. We need to point out the benefits of having children later in life and start talking up the advantages of being in a stable relationship, the most stable of which is married life. A national debate is needed. It's not about stigmatising single mothers; it's simply about giving facts", Professor Casey said.

The report also shows that the number of teenage mothers giving birth has fallen almost, ten per cent/. But Dr Casey said this accounted for a small number of births. To read the full report see:

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