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The Story behind the Irish Parental Equality Legacy Project

A conversation explaining how the “Legacy Project” came about at a meeting back in Nov 2003 and after many years of distraction how it is finally taking shape…..

The vision of the “Legacy Project” is the core objective of this latest reinvention of the Parental Equality site.

The work and ideals of the Parental Equality and supporting organisations are part of the alternative history of Ireland and are still being reinvented and felt throughout Ireland in the homes, courts and on the streets.

The vision of this project is to capture the Legacy in a historical website that will educate and inform not only historians, students. politicals but maybe even individuals that are facing the awful situation of not being allowed to have the equal rights to parent your child/ren.

If you wish to support this project and/or if you have “evidenced based” material which can embellish this project for the benefit of future generations of parents and their children and grandparents then please email


This is a foreward by Liam O'Gogain from 2002. In reality how much has changed for Fathers since?

As chairman of Parental Equality I welcome you to our  website.

Parental Equality is celebrating 10 years of work in support of shared parenting issues since being founded in 1992. In those ten years there have been enormous changes in Ireland.

We now have legalized Divorce, some 40% of births outside of marriage, a substantive increase in family Law activity (20% of all civil legal actions) and a huge industry of professionals who eke their living from the fallout of family separations.

Technology has been a central driver in change. Mobile phones are now standard. Being on the web as you are now is increasingly the norm. The Freedom of Information Act now allows a citizen to have access to information which was at best a black art in the past.

The landscape against which support groups such as PE operates is also greatly changed. Whereas at one time voluntary groups were all well meaning unpaid caring people who did their best with very little funds and no one expected miracles form such groups, there has been a huge shift towards a Professional Voluntary sector with over 70% of workers in this area being paid. Unfortunately funding for these salaries (often from taxpayer’s monies) is concentrated on those groups within the Golden Circle of political correctness This process has raised the expectation of callers to the various services. Callers expect helplines to be 24/7/365 and they expect a range of supports without having to contribute for these supports.  Parental Equality is largely unfunded. We get some small grant aid which could not even support the maintenance of this website. For most of our work we rely of the incredible level of commitment of a small band of doo-ers who have risen above their own personal problems and reached out to help others. On your behalf I thank all the PE volunteers and wish for them and their children good health and happiness.


Parental Equality have been at the leading edge of promoting change in the family law system and in challenging the culture of “Sole custody to the Mother, with subservient and controlled access to the Father”. This discriminatory approach to parental roles has led to a colony of single parent families, led almost exclusively by mothers, where children have very little experience of enriched relationships with their loving fathers. The Irish State has now become substitute father to countless thousands of children, with spiraling costs to the exchequer (and thus the taxpayer, due to single parent welfare payments), as a direct result of a policy of isolating and demonising men in general and in driving fathers away from their children in the event of relationship breakdown.

The sobering fact is that within 2 years of relationship breakdown, some 50% of fathers lose contact with their children. At the same time the level of male depression, male suicide and societal violence, infanticide etc., is on the increase.

It seems apparent to me that the government Family Social Policy of the last two decades has as one would say “added to the problems rather than contributing to a solution”

Parental Equality believe that when relationships break down the default solution should be one of shared Joint custody with equal social, tax, educational and welfare  supports for both mothers and fathers. PE have living working models to prove that a policy of true equality which treats mothers and fathers with Parity of Esteem as parents and which supports shared parenting as a core value creates a WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN outcome:-


  1. Children Win by retaining and developing deeply loving and engaged relationships with both their mothers and fathers and their respective extended families. This removes the longer term trauma of future reconnections with their father and his families. It also removes the need for the children to take sides and provides greater security for their upbringing.


  1. Mothers win by not being left as sole custodians and effective sole guardians of their children’s welfare.  Mothers sharing parenting experience the same opportunity for personal development and for career opportunity as the fathers of the children. The level of stress is reduced for mothers by not having to pursue fathers for maintenance, which mothers often say re-enlivens the bitterness and arguments and prevents them from moving on.  The culturally enforced martyrdom of single motherhood and the stigmas which are sometimes attached with sole parenting are removed. In this environment, if single mothers meet other single fathers it is likely that those fathers have themselves an involved commitment with their own children and therefore any new relationship is more likely to be based on an equality of expectation and resources.


  1. Fathers win by having parity of esteem as parents. Instead of trying to deal with the emotional trauma of expecting to be treated as second class parents, subservient to the whims of the mother and often repositioning their expectation of themselves and their engagement with their children, fathers can plan to rebalance their career and family life commitments for the benefit of themselves and their children. By having equal access to state child benefits, equal and positive support from the statutory services in dealing with the whole range of parenting issues, fathers will experience a release of loving energy which recognition of their role will bring and this energy will be positively available for their children.


  1. Grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins will all win. No longer the embarrassment of children and their grandparents and cousins etc, when they meet in the street, in school etc. The present discrimination in favour of maternal grandparents and extended families, while isolating the fathers side of the family will no longer be necessary. Grandparents who are generally completely innocent and often unaware of the parents conflicts and who end up cut off as result of family separations can now be assured of secure long term relationships with their grandchildren. In this space grandparents can provide the wisdom and ease of age, the vital linkages through the family genealogy, and a comforting ear for the problems of growing children.


  1. Society wins by the maintenance of the familial and communal bonds which shared parenting brings with it. Families are best able to impart communal values and to maintain a sense of good behaviour and to look out for their own, instead of abdicating to the state the day to day responsibility for their children. With a reduction in the exchequer spending on maintenance, the consequent reduction in spending on adversarial court hearings and costs of social workers reports etc, the taxpayers monies can then be directed into productive family support, which can benefit children and their parents.


In conclusion, The philosophy of building a shared parenting culture is about improving the Quality of Life for all of  our citizens. There are those who, I believe, because of their baggage or blindness, or because of the toxic incentives which encourage them to stoke the male-female divide in order to increase their own financial gain from the hurt of others, will continue to say that Joint Custody and shared parenting cannot work. Because of the huge investment in the present model of sole custody-feckless father-martyr-mother metaphor, these people do not want change even if it’s for the better. Using vast sums of taxpayers funds they carry out and use research results not as a learning and discovery tool but rather as a way of buttressing their prior prejudices. To those who say that shared parenting cannot work I say “Get out of the way of those who are actually doing it successfully”.


If you would like to be involved in building solutions for our children’s futures, then I encourage you to become involved with us in Parental Equality. Whatever you skills there is something you can contribute and remember:- PE needs you and can only develop with your participation. So let’s hear from you.



Liam O Gogain

(Chairman PE)

11th June 2002

PE News

Tipp Today - Thursday January 15th 2018 - Tipp FM


Jan 25, 2018 - In the final hour of this mornings Tipp Today, we spoke to Liam O'Gogain from the Parental Equality Group on Sinn Fein's proposals to punish parents for not paying maintenance, we spoke to one of our callers Eamon who is looking to build stronger relationships in the community and organise days outs, 

#SOSManDown: New campaign launched to tackle male health crisis

Irish Examiner-17 Nov 2017
The campaign group for fathers' rights in Ireland has launched a new offensive, calling for an urgent package of measures to reduce casualties from the higher rates of suicide, ... Parental Equality: Automatic parental responsibility for all fathers and a legal presumption of shared parenting and child support.

Why is gender inequality towards parental rights just accepted ...

May 21, 2017 - I want parental equality, outside of that I am not seeing many issues men face. Aside from the social one of men having to be real-men and not show emotions. Leading to escalating levels of self-harm, etc. in an era when we're telling people to speak out. But then you get some looney MRAs' arguing that .

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Protestors set to stage demo for Fathers4Justice during ... - The Irish Sun

Jun 20, 2017 - O'Connor told the Irish Sun the protest would be both “symbolic” and “peaceful”, with two women involved in the demo during the famous festival from August 16 to 22. He added: “It's 12 months on and nobody has done anything in Government about parental equality for Irish dads. “There are 220,000 .

John Waters delivers Father's Day "Reality Cards" to Easons, Ireland ...
Jun 12, 2017 - Uploaded by wearefathers4justice

The sad and shocking reality of Father's Day for many of Ireland's separated dads has been vividly bought ..

'Dads aren't recognised in our Constitution and the Citizen's Assembly ... Jun 2017
The facts behind the fiction for Ireland's forgotten fathers and broken families are very different. Despite the push for equality for all, the government and all political parties oppose parental equality for fathers, including a presumption of 50/50 shared parenting in the event parents separate. As a result ...

Debate on paternity leave begins in Dáil - RTE › News › News

Jun 24, 2016 - Ms O'Loughlin said Ireland has "been behind" in relation parental leave and it has a long way to go. Pointing to Norway, she said fathers there ... Labour Party's Brendan Ryan told the Dáil that it is long past the time to practically endorse the principle of parental equality. He said that after the birth of a child ...

Family Issues: Presentations - Oral Hearings - The All-Party ...

The Council on Social Responsibility of the Methodist Church in Ireland recognises and sympathises with the position of homosexuals but it does not condone their ... Chairman: The next item on the agenda is the presentation by Parental Equality which is represented by Mr. Liam Ó Gogáin, Mr. Paul Coleman, Mr. Dominic ...

Registering a Birth - IrishHealth

Lobby groups for shared parenting, such as Parental Equality, would like to see the Irish system emulate those of the Scandinavian countries, where it is obligatory to name the father on a child's birth certificate. Children, they argue, have a right to know their origins, and adult sensitivities ought to come second to the child's ...

Dispossessed dads: 'Fathers are second-class parents and given ... Nov 2016
Parental Equality was a support group/campaign set up by Liam O Gogain in Dundalk 20 years ago. A great man ahead of his time who helped me and many fathers when doors closed around us. Back then Shared Custody was frowned upon by the Irish system but Liam helped empower fathers to share ...

The rights of unmarried fathers are being changed – but is it enough? Mar 2015
It proposes to herald a new era for family law in Ireland. ... While amendments to the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 thus far have improved the position of the unmarried father in Ireland by providing that he can apply to court for guardianship or ..... When do we get a referendum on Parental Equality?

Marriage Equality, Relationship Recognition and Non - UCC

Mar 28, 2014 - Recognition and Risk' building on the work of TH Greene and some other British idealists? Dr Louise Crowley, Faculty of Law, UCC, "Parental equality - current legislative attempts to equalise parental rights under Irish law". Dr Fergus Ryan, School of Law, NUI Maynooth, “Marriage, Gender Recognition, 

My girlfriend had an abortion and we split up, but I can't move on

The Guardian-5 Dec 2014
I'm a 25-year-old man from Ireland who went through a pretty rough breakup. I was in a relationship with an amazing woman for two of the happiest years of my life. Then we had an unplanned pregnancy. We decided to have the child together; I have a good job and I could have supported us both, and we ...

Column: Tragic case of newborn boy highlights unmarried fathers' lack ... Jan 2014
A High Court order today granted a Dublin hospital permission to withdraw life-support treatment from a severely brain-damaged baby boy whose his young mother died shortly after giving birth earlier this week. Although the infant's father supported the decision to remove life-support, he had no legal say in ...

Benefits of post-divorce shared parenting Tromp-2009 | Vaderinstituut

Nov 13, 2012 - Ireland has, since the advent of Parental Equality (the Irish lobby group associated with Liam O'Gogain) circa. 1993, been considering the possibility of a change to laws of joint physical custody – which gives some gauge of the lack of seriousness with which such laws are being considered. In Germany, a ...'actualit%C3%A9/picture-taken-on-september-24-2013-shows-a-banner-photo-dactualit%C3%A9/181722535#picture-taken-on-september-24-2013-shows-a-banner-reading-parental-picture-id181722535

Access and the non-custodial parent in the Republic of Ireland
by A Egan - ‎2011 - ‎Related articles

For example, one fathers' rights group in IrelandParental Equality, in a submission to the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution in 1997, argued that when a child is born "the State, through the Constitution should acknowledge the child's right to the care and protection of both parents from the moment of birth".

The joys of parental equality - The Irish Times

Nov 1, 2011 - Sweden's system of parental leave means both parents can care for their children on a full-time basis, writes ISABEL CONWAY. IT WOULD have been unthinkable for Erik Wall to pass up the chance of becoming a full-time stay-at-home father, caring for his baby daughter and managing the household in his ...

Athlone man chairs European Dads' group

Westmeath Independent-27 Jul 2011
A year later he helped found Men's Support Groups of Ireland, a national umbrella organisation for support groups of this kind. He also became chairman of Parental Equality, which is a group campaigning for legislative change. These involvements led to his invitation to Brussels for the foundation of the ...

In the eye of a divorce storm: examining the modern challenge for Irish ...
by C Daly - ‎2009 - ‎Cited by 1 - ‎Related articles

Irish schools educating children of divorced and separated families. Clare Daly*. Ronan Daly Jermyn Solicitors, Cork, ... Divorce and separation are still relatively new phenomena in Irish society, and responses to this societal change are only ..... children. (Parental Equality 2002). To exclude one parent from his child's ...

Charting the Development of a National Men's Health Policy in the ...

by N Richardson - ‎2009 - ‎Cited by 2 - ‎Related articles

Other organisations such as 'AMEN' and 'Parental Equality' provide support for male victims of domestic violence and separated / divorced fathers respectively. These initiatives amount to a considerable momentum that has built up in the area of men's health in Ireland in recent years, and have served to strengthen existing ...

Latest Photos - Photos | Marian Harkin MEP

Parental Equality Ireland. 27 Mar 2008. Parental Equality Ireland. Marian is pictured with members ofParental Equality Ireland on their visit to the European Parliament. They are pictured (L to R) Robert Pigott, Alan Beirne, Marian, Joe Egan and Paul Coleman. Irish Carers Representatives Meet EU Commissioner.

6-Way-Win Shared Parenting | Child Custody | Family - Scribd

Families, Change and Social Policy Ireland 2008 Irish Family Policy ... It is obvious that legislation and the social and economic policies implemented over the last quarter of a century in Ireland have, at best, failed to curb the rising levels of relationship breakdown and the consequence of .... Parental EqualityVision !

Concerns in relation to the Draft Guardianship of ... - Women's Aid

Following the briefing on the draft Guardianship of Children (presumption of parental equality) Bill .... The issue of domestic violence in the context of separating families, as in Irish society in general, is not a marginal one. According to the National Crime Council Report on Domestic Abuse in Ireland, about 1 in 7 women.

Street protests over Irish child custody ruling - Cult Education Institute

Dec 26, 2004 - A protest campaign has been launched over the decision of an Irish court to award custody of a young child to his father, with whom he has not lived for ... Liam O'Gogain, the chairman ofParental Equality, said that, in the current environment, "there is no protection of privacy for families in these situations.

support for vocal ireland,parental equality and amen - International ...

at the public meeting in Dublin on Monday evening 4 February. This meeting is being hosted by VocalIrelandParental Equality and Amen. It would appear as the veil of secrecy is being torn down millimetre by millimetre that we are beginning to uncover a deliberate attempt to pervert. Irish society by a small group of radical ...

A political vignette for our times - Fathers Are Capable Too

May 6, 2002 - John Waters Irish Times. Mr Ó Gogain is known as an activist for fathers' rights, being the founder and chairman of Parental Equality, an organisation which has campaigned on this issue for the past decade. The father of two teenage boys, he presented himself last Friday with his nomination paper, signed ...

Eddie Hernon, Dr Moira Woods, Liam O'Gogain, Falsely Accused ...

Irish Examiner, 6th February 2002, by Evelyn Ring ... Eddie Hernon of VOCAL Ireland said people like him had their lives destroyed by Dr Moira Woods in the 1980s when she headed the Sexual Assault Trauma Unit in ... Liam Ó Gogáin, chairperson of Parental Equality, is now leading the campaign for the statutory inquiry.

24 January 2002 Mansion House Dublin - Irish Human Rights and ...

Jan 24, 2002 - 13.5 Requests for meetings have been received from Amnesty International IrishSection, the Evangelical Alliance and Parental Equality. These requests will be acceded to. 13.6 The President will write to Geraldine Larkin, who recently moved from the Human Rights Division to the Law Reform Division of ..

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Daddy dearest put to the test -

Sep 1, 2000 - ... marriage has never been a guarantee of fatherhood, the fact that one in four Irishchildren is now born outside wedlock inevitably muddies the waters. ``A lot of children are the product of casual relationships nowadays,'' says Tony Tuite from the voluntary association for parents' rights,Parental Equality.

English page Dutch father movement - Het zál vaders een zorg zijn

Mary T. Cleary (Ireland) spoke about her AMEN helpline for abused men: in two years time she received 5000 telephone calls for help. Liam O'Gogain (Parental EqualityIreland) told that equal parenting is since 1997 a possibility in Irish law. Gerhard Hanekamp (independent, Germany) said that the new German law of ...

Left out of the family circle -

Jul 26, 1999 - And, given the case made by Parental Equality, it seems high time we started washing some of our dirty linen in public. No, names should not be named. But with regard to parenting, legislators and citizens need to know precisely what happens when marriages break down in Ireland. The public debate is ..

1995 Pre Divorce TV Debate Ireland in Parental Equality on Vimeo › liamog › Videos

Listen to the pre divorce Ireland (c.1995) debate. Look out for Adrian Hardiman (Then barrister, now Supreme Court Judge), Emily O'Reilly (Then journalsit now…

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