Ireland: Home-Educating Mother Jailed

Ireland: Home-Educating Mother Jailed

CarlowwomanjailedToday, I  received an email from Dan Arnold, who was recently (Aug 23) elected Chair of Home Education Network (HEN), the oldest, biggest, and best-known home-ed representative group in Eire. He asks for our support in the case of a home-educating mother, a traditional Catholic, who has been imprisoned for what amounts to refusing to ask the State’s permission to home-educate her children – a right enshrined in the Irish Constitution.  You can read the background to this case here    The point is well made in this report  that The state could go to any school gate on any day and pick up an unfit parent, one that is addicted to intravenous drugs, whose children go to school hungry, unwashed or otherwise neglected. The state could spend their energy and money getting help for those families, who I see around me every day in Dublin city; children so sad and malnourished, drinking cans of Coke as they walk in the school gates, with eyes already dulled by years of mistreatment. I worked in a disadvantaged school and when I once asked the principal why didn’t social services get involved more in the many, many neglectful families, she said “where would they start?”. Instead, the state is picking on easy targets, fantastic parents who are taking a stand for families everywhere, Monica O’Connor and Eddie O’Neill. This is an absolute disgrace. How much in taxpayers money will go into Monica’s prison time, thousands that could be put elsewhere and actually do some good? I am so angry about this, I am just disgusted. I urge you all, whether home educators or not, to stand in support of Monica, sign the petition here, write to your TDs, email, ring them, do whatever you can or have time for to help us protect the rights of our families.”  

As I read about the predicament of Monica and Eddie,  I found myself thinking of the Ashya King scandal.  It seems that “the State” – in Ireland as in the UK –  holds to the erroneous opinion that it owns the nation’s children, with parents being cast in the role of caretakers, not to say something of a nuisance when they choose to differ from the “experts” – medical or educational – in the best interests of their offspring Read the Press Release below and tell us if you agree.  Source

PRESS RELEASE JULY 2014 Embargo 9am Wednesday 3 September 2014

A Carlow mother of 6 has been imprisoned for not paying a fine relating to the Constitutionally protected right to home educate her children

 Monica O’Connor, 47, from Tullow, has 5 sons and a daughter, ranging in age from 6 to 27 years. Her husband Eddie O’Neill, 49, is also threatened with serving a prison sentence.

Article 42 of Bunreacht na hEireann, the Irish Constitution, acknowledges that parents are their children’s primary educators. Section 2 says “parents shall be free to provide this education in their homes..”  

The former National Education Welfare Board (NEWB), whose functions were assumed in January by the Child and Family Agency of Tusla, summoned the couple to Carlow District Court, where they were fined €2,000 in June 2013 for “failing to cause” 2 of their children to attend school. The NEWB insisted that home educating families must apply to have their educational provision assessed for each child, in order to avail of their right to home educate. The couple maintain that this is akin to asking permission, which can be refused, so therefore is not a right. The family were sent School Attendance Notices to compel their then 12 year old son, Oran, and 9 year old daughter, Elva, to attend local primary schools.  

The children have all learned at home for their primary years. The 2 eldest sat Leaving Certificate exams after 4 and 21/2 years of secondary schooling, respectively. The eldest, Darragh, 27, works in the bar of golf club in Hawaii and has maintained himself since leaving home to study 3 Bar Skills and Hotel courses with Failte Ireland, aged 17. The second son, Oisin, 20, completed a FETAC 6 in Acting and is auditioning for theatre work. The third, Emmet, 19, is finished the 2nd year of a 4 year Music Degree in Dublin Institute of Technology, gaining entry without a Leaving Cert. He started formal education aged 16, completing a FETAC 5 in Music and gaining entry by audition and entrance exam.  

The younger 3 continue learning at home with their parents.  

Today Gardai escorted Monica O’Connor to Mountjoy prison for not paying the fine. She could serve 5 days in respect of each of the 2 children. 

A 16 minute documentary on youtube “Homegrown Knowledge” features the younger 4 children speaking about how they like to learn at home.  

A petition has been started on calling on the Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan, to intervene on the family’s behalf.  

Further details on facebook page “Home Education Support Fund”.   

Monica 086-8366569 Eddie 086-3538849

Comments (56)

  • editor

    Below is the video ‘Homegrown Knowledge” mentioned in the press release, featuring the younger four children speaking about their home-education experience. I’ve not yet viewed it myself, but look forward to seeing it later.

    September 3, 2014 at 5:54 pm
    • Fidelis

      That’s a lovely video. Articulate, well cared for children, a credit to their parents. I would had also said a credit to the Irish State for enshrining the right to home-ed in the Constitution but not now.

      September 4, 2014 at 4:32 pm
  • Catherine

    Beautiful video clip. It is very natural and realistic. I pray for this family to have the freedom to continue to home educate their children. It is their right and no one should take this very basic right from them. It is a God-given right, who do the state think they are interfering like this. I am shocked the way this family have been treated. The children are well brought up, well spoken and well mannered intelligent children which is more than can be said for the majority of state-schooled children as sad as this may seem, it is very true. These home educated children seem very sociably confident and very ordinary. This family and many others need our support. Those in authority in Ireland should be ashamed.

    September 3, 2014 at 10:32 pm
  • Josephine

    It is worrying how governments and their agents are interfering in family life. This home-schooling family are quite right to refuse to pay the fine or ask permission to do something that is a basic right. It’s becoming more and more common and, taking the case of the parents of Ashya King, only for the fact that the family had the money to go abroad to get suitable treatment, and the wit to and wherewithal to purchase medicines and wheelchair etc and to post on YouTube, they would not have had the sympathy from the public which led to their release. Money talks. When they first told the doctors they were going to take Ashya overseas, there was a veiled threat of a court order to prevent them, which is why they just upped and went. I find it really gross that these government agencies can bully parents as they do.

    The children in the video are very articulate and it was interesting to see how home-schooling works, at least some of the time. The video was very short, it would have been interesting to see a “proper lesson” e.g. on English or Maths.

    Good luck to the Irish home-schooling couple – it will be interesting to see if the mother gets her 10 day sentence reduced as a result of the publicity. The ways things are going, I suppose we should be thankful it’s only ten days and not ten years!

    September 3, 2014 at 10:36 pm
  • Frank Woods

    Great …….so it seems these children have/are getting a solid home education but (as a supporter of parents/guardians right to choose how to educate their children) anyone who thinks the State should not have an oversight role should read

    September 3, 2014 at 10:54 pm
    • Margaret Mary

      That is a terrible case of incest, but it’s no reason for the State to take away parents’ rights over their own children. The majority of the cases in the news about child abuse here in the UK have been about children in care being abused by TV celebrities and Asian gangs (Rotherham) where the authorities turned a blind eye because of not wanting to fall foul of the abusers.

      The same rules should apply that apply to all crimes. When there is evidence, the police should act. You don’t ask the police to watch people just in case they break laws in any other way. Why can parents not be left to raise their own children as they wish, without the State watching them?

      September 3, 2014 at 11:59 pm
    • editor


      I have a relative who home-educates her children. At the end of the first year, the local education authority wrote to ask for examples of her daughter’s work, which was supplied. They then wrote to say they were satisfied a suitable education was being delivered and so she could continue for another year. Following year same thing happened, with choice of either visiting the local authority office or having them visit the home. I help teach English to the children, so we decided to take the children to the local education authority office this time. We sat round a table and the very nice lady who had been assigned to (oversee?) the family said – again – that she had no problems with the home-educating continuing. The following year (last year) when the letter arrived, she was invited to the home and expressed herself impressed with everything – again, “on you go” was the message.

      Now, none of this was necessary. It was time-consuming and disruptive, despite the fact that the lady in question is an extremely nice person, who told the mother of the children that she had “missed her vocation” (i.e. she is a very good teacher). Her eldest daughter has just achieved top grades in her Highers. What if, however, that lady was not a fan of home-education? What if her own personal prejudices meant she did not want to be impressed and so her reports were less favourable through to hostile?

      Parents have every right to educate their children at home without anyone assuming that they are being abused or not being properly taught or socialised (which is always the big, if not the only concern raised by non-home-educators: “…er….but, they need to socialise with their peers… as if their peers don’t live on the same street, attend the same clubs, etc)

      As Margaret Mary has intimated, we’ve had cases here where nursery nurses have been convicted of child abuse, where teachers have been abusers, including more than one engaging in sexual activity with minors, and nobody suggests extra “oversight” measures for them. Nobody suggests that every nursery nurse or teacher is a potential abuser. Far from it, on every discussion show where the subject arises, a sure way of eliciting audience applause is to refer to the “dedication” and “professionalism” of teachers. The occasional bad apple is recognised as such, and nobody sees the need to buy a bunch of sledge hammers to crack a nut.

      It’s insulting to parents to suggest that they require the State to “oversee” them in case they harm their children. Always, there will be exceptions, but hard cases make bad law, as the saying goes. Parents should be left alone to raise their children as they see fit and – as already said by MM – if there is any suspicion raised, any grounds for believing there is abuse going on, then the proper channels should be employed. I see someone stealing a car on my street, I call the police. I don’t call the police because I see people walking past the cars on my street. In fact, the State has made a very poor job of “overseeing” the children already in State care, whether in schools, nurseries or care homes. The statistics suggest that parents do a much better job at caring for their families. Much better.

      The Irish are lucky in that it is written into their Constitution that parents have a right to educate at home. The State, therefore, should stay out of the family and allow Monica and Eddie O’Neill to exercise their right to home-education. That’s the bottom line. End of. Monica should be released from prison, with a public apology and financial compensation for a breach of her rights. Without delay.

      September 4, 2014 at 9:54 am
      • Petrus


        I couldn’t agree more. Very well said.

        There is an anomaly in the way home education is dealt with in this country. It very much depends on how an individual views home education or what an individual local authority has in place. I know some families that have had horrendous interference and other families that have had no problem whatsoever.

        The fact of the matter is, no family should have to obtain permission to home educate. Having said that, I find your relative’s attitude very similar to that of my wife and me. There are some families who go out of their way to fight the local authority on absolutely everything. I know of several families who have refused to allow health visitors to visit their home. I would rather be up front and proud to show how well home education works.

        There is an anomaly also regarding asking the local authority for permission if your child has been to school. You don’t have to do this if your child hasn’t been to school. I believe no one should have to ask for permission. If a parent wants to withdraw a child from school the local authority should have no say on the matter. After all, permission is not required if you are sending your child to a private school.

        I know individual cases of child abuse can be found, but as the editor has said, there are cases of abuse in a variety of situations that don’t require state monitoring. Abuse in home educating families is very rare.

        September 4, 2014 at 5:22 pm
      • editor


        I agree that it is much better to be upfront and invite these government agencies into the home – otherwise, they get suspicious and it’s a case of any excuse being better than none to launch an investigation etc.

        In the case of the Irish family, I think they were right not to “apply” for their right, under the Irish Constitution. It’s like asking someone who is caring for an elderly relative to apply for permission to do so or any other similar family situation. The State is getting out of control, both here and across the Irish Sea. Truly, we’re in some state, the lot of us 😀

        September 4, 2014 at 9:37 pm
      • Petrus


        Very well said again. The modern day politicians have no respect for anything – even the Irish Constitution.

        Sent from my iPad

        September 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm
      • editor


        Well, my friend the Irishman Paddy O’Reilly would definitely agree with you about modern day politicians. I remember once, when we were walking through a graveyard and we came across a headstone with the inscription “Here lies a politician and an honest man.”

        “Heavens”‘ exclaimed Paddy, ‘I wonder how they got the two of them in one grave.’ 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

        September 4, 2014 at 11:22 pm
      • Confitebor Domino


        Surely that inscription should have stopped after the 4th word 🙂

        September 4, 2014 at 11:46 pm
      • Michaela

        Confitebor Domino,

        I agree!

        September 8, 2014 at 10:54 am
    • Fidelis

      Frank Woods,

      The children who were neglected and sexually abused by their mother in that report, were not home-educated. The report makes clear that the school was irresponsible in not noticing that they were neglected. If the State employees had been more alert and more caring, those children wouldn’t have suffered those years of abuse at home. If you meant that report to damn home-education, you failed, but succeeded in showing us that the State can’t be trusted in any “oversight role” to use your own words.

      Not many of us may have first hand experience of parents who home-educate but the ones who take on that huge task that I know of (and I know a couple) are obviously parents who care a great deal about their family’s education.

      September 4, 2014 at 4:37 pm
      • editor


        Well spotted. I just skimmed the top of that article and hadn’t realised those children attended school. I presumed Frank Woods had posted the link to show us the “dangers” of home-education. Laughably, as you say, he failed miserably to do so, instead, spectacularly revealing the rot of the State care system within mainstream schooling. Priceless. Sad, but priceless.

        September 4, 2014 at 9:40 pm
  • Nicky

    To be honest, I think most Catholics, like everyone else, thinks it is better to send children to school. I think that’s borne out by the lack of interest in this thread, no offence intended. I’m in favour of home-schooling, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think most people are, including Catholics who say we don’t self-medicate so why should we self-educate.

    I also wonder at the wisdom of making a big deal out of applying to register. Apart from a symbolic gesture, why make life more difficult for yourself. Why not just register?

    September 4, 2014 at 1:11 pm
    • Fidelis

      I’m very interested in this thread – I think the editor has made it clear that people blog when they can and when they can’t, that’s OK.

      I think it’s disgraceful that this couple are being punished for home-educating.

      Your last point, “why not just register” made me ask myself “why does anyone stand up for their beliefs?” It also reminded me of St Thomas More’s family trying to get him to just sign the oath of allegiance. His conscience wouldn’t let him sign, so I presume it’s the same for Monica O’Connor.

      I agree that she should be given a public apology and financial recompense for the time she’s spent unjustly in prison.

      September 4, 2014 at 3:50 pm
    • editor


      I don’t see any lack of interest in this thread at all. Have you looked at other blogs lately? Few of them have more than half a dozen comments at most, usually between 0 and 3. Once we hit 3, I sleep like a baby 😀

      I see others have answered your comment “why not register” and it’s really all been said. I’ll just mischievously add that it would surely raise eyebrows if the NATO agenda in Wales included the question: “why not just leave the terrorists alone?”

      September 4, 2014 at 9:32 pm
  • Theresa Rose

    What exactly is going on in Eire? After all, it makes clear in the Irish Constitution that parents are entitled to provide their children’s education. These children have not lost out on anything education wise.

    I wonder if there has been any comparisons of children being taught in the classroom as opposed to home schooling? Who fares better? Within the school system there may be large class sizes. What 30 odd to 40 odd children. Children learn at different levels, some are brighter than others. But where does the concentration lie in teaching children? Upon the brighter ones, or, the less able? What children lose out in the classroom altogether?

    I googed home schooling throughout the UK and there are several methods being used from primary, then secondary education up till 18 years, all perfectly legal.

    September 4, 2014 at 5:38 pm
    • editor

      Theresa Rose,

      What exactly is going on in Eire, right enough.

      And where, I wonder, are all the concerned Irish people I was expecting to sign up to comment here?

      Anyway, what has happened to this Irish family could happen to any family. Trumped up excuses to arrest and even imprison people for having the temerity to partake of a little independent thinking, is just another way of bullying to achieve the politically correct society of the “liberal” dream.

      Well done to Monica for refusing to allow herself to be bullied.

      For the record, I checked out the reason why she has a different surname from her husband and apparently it is not unusual in Ireland or that part of it anyway. She is Mrs O’Neill (married to Eddie O’Neill) but “goes by” her maiden name of O’Connor. When I thought of it, not really surprising. I have a married friend to whom I always refer by her maiden name. Anyway, thought I’d mention that in case anyone thinks we are supporting cohabitation. Not until after the October Synod, folks, then we’ll look at the issues again 😀

      September 4, 2014 at 9:25 pm
      • crofterlady

        Well Editor, it’s good to see that you are open minded and not an extremist :)))

        I know people from Tullow and they say that married women there usually take the hubby’s name. Just so you know……

        It seems this family are unusual (would that be difficult these days?) and simply will not be bullied. Monica is out of prison now I’m told.

        September 5, 2014 at 11:21 am
      • editor


        I thought I’d made it clear that she HAS taken her husband’s name.

        September 5, 2014 at 11:28 am
      • crofterlady

        Yes you did but you also said: “…apparently it is not unusual (for women to use their maiden names) in Ireland or that part of it anyway.” I was just commenting that my sources say that woman in Tullow and elsewhere in Ireland normally take their husbands’ names.

        September 5, 2014 at 5:56 pm
      • editor


        I noticed the use of the woman’s surname in the article. I emailed the gentleman who had asked me to post this thread, since he’d said he knew the woman and the family. He is from that part of the world and heads the Home Education organisation which is supporting the family. I asked him for confirmation that the couple were married or that this was a typing error. This is his reply:

        Yes, it often raises a question when spouses retain their ‘maiden’ names. It is not an un-heard of practice in Eire. She is Monica O’Neill, but ‘goes’ as Monica O’Connor. It can all be a bit confusing!

        Thank you for your query. I hope this has given certainty about it. END.

        September 5, 2014 at 9:29 pm
      • Spiritus

        Editor, This issue first came to my attention in mid August when a lady attending Mass at SSPX chapel, bucket in hand, told us that she was taking up a collection to cover expenses in this case. Many of the faithful did not seem to fully understand the issue; their comment to her went along the lines of ” they are not under threat of arrest for homeschooling, but for failing to register to homeschool”. Her reply was “if it’s a right, you shouldn’t have to register” Many families attending our local church homeschool, and I am not sure that they fully understand the seriousness of this case.
        As to “what’s happening in Eire?” I am afraid that most people seem simply content to swim with the tide and are far too trusting of our leaders, both civil and religious. After the passing of the Lisbon treaty, second time around (after the Irish people gave the “wrong” answer the first time!) it all seemed to go downhill.
        When I was canvassing for a friend running in the recent European elections I was getting a lot of apathy on the doorsteps; people are fed up with the status quo but are very reluctant to come out and fight for people and laws that are just.
        There is a petition that may be signed at

        September 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm
      • editor


        Thank you for paying us a visit. I’m less than impressed with the absence of Irish commentators on this thread, posted at the request of an Irishman. However, unlike the clergy who used to lecture the congregation about those who had missed Mass, I won’t give you a hard time! Thanks for popping by. Much appreciated.

        I note your experience of the apathy when you raised the issue of this family after Mass, even in an SSPX chapel. The useful idiots are truly everywhere. If they can’t see the craziness of having to “apply” for something which is a “right” then they deserve all that is heading their way. It never ceases to amaze me how otherwise intelligent people will always defer to the State authorities. Even if they pay lip service to being cynical about politicians, bottom line is most people take the attitude that the “professionals” know best. It is worth noting that not a lot of professionals take that attitude! They know better! I heard a doctor interviewed on BBC radio the other day talking about the case of the little boy Ashya King, whose parents disagreed with the medics on their son’s care and took him across to Spain. The doctor said that there is an “arrogance” within the profession which is being addressed now at medical school. Not before time. Teachers are not guilty of that sort of arrogance (couldn’t possibly be, I’m one!) but the people who really object to home-education are those with an interest in turning out politically correct, de facto sexually promiscuous children. Not a lot else concerns them.

        I think that petition was linked to the original article above and I’ve signed it myself (hope others have, as well) but thanks for the reminder.

        I hope someone will let us know if Monica is released from prison early and keep us informed, via this thread, of any developments.

        September 5, 2014 at 10:04 pm
  • Monica O'Connor

    Thanks for posting this article and your support of our family. I was released after spending 3.5 hours in jail and the previous 1.5 hours in Garda (police) custody for the journey to the prison. We have had lots of media interest; some positive. We expect that there will be a follow-up to arrest my husband Eddie but have not been told when. We suspect the authorities may wish the attention to die down first. Please pray we can work out a solution which respects families’ rights to oversee their children’s education without submitting to intrusive state interference. God bless. Monica O’Connor

    September 6, 2014 at 4:17 pm
    • Margaret Mary

      Monica O’Connor,

      That’s great news about your release from prison. It’s also great that you are getting plenty of media attention. If they arrest your husband, you should seek the same publicity which should have the same effect, we hope.

      I hope you don’t mind me asking, but why do you use your maiden name when you are married? I thought only radical feminists did that!

      September 6, 2014 at 6:24 pm
      • Petrus

        Margaret Mary,

        To be honest I don’t think it’s any of your business and to be frank it’s an unnecessary distraction.

        Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

        September 6, 2014 at 6:27 pm
      • Margaret Mary


        I didn’t mean any harm. I was just interested, that’s all. I know Monica is married but when you see two people living together with two different names, it’s usually because they are not married. Editor cleared that up, so I wasn’t meaning to be rude or intrusive. Crofterlady then said she knew people in the same part of the country who said it wasn’t a usual thing, so I was just curious to know if there was some reason that would be interesting to learn.

        I apologise, Monica, if I caused you any offence. Just ignore my question if it is intrusive.

        September 6, 2014 at 6:38 pm
      • Petrus

        Margaret Mary,

        I don’t think you meant to be nasty, but I think this is a non issue and is really none of our business.  As you said, it has been cleared up previously.

        Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

        September 6, 2014 at 6:53 pm
      • Nicky

        I’m actually interested as well in why Catholic women want to keep their maiden names. I don’t see any harm in asking. To say that it’s none of our business suggests it’s something private but it’s not. It’s usually only cohabiting couples to use their own names so it would be interesting to hear why married people do that, especially in Ireland. Asking the question isn’t making it into an issue – telling people it’s none of our business is, IMHO.

        Editor, I don’t want to introduce an unpleasant tone (or keep any unpleasant tone going) so if you want to delete this, please do.

        September 6, 2014 at 7:06 pm
      • Petrus

        Well, the two bloggers who “only expressed interest” and “didn’t mean any harm” both mentioned irregular behaviours in the same breath as “expressing interest” – cohabiting couples and radical feminists!

        Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

        September 6, 2014 at 7:26 pm
      • Nicky


        That is because it is unusual for Catholic married women to keep their maiden names. I think it is implicit in what Editor wrote that she enquired about it to clear up that Monica is married and not cohabiting.

        Frankly, I’d like to know why any married woman, especially a Catholic, prefers to use her maiden name. And frankly, if it is considered none of my business, I’d prefer to hear that from Monica herself. However, if you think it’s a distraction don’t bother commenting further on the matter. If Monica chooses to tell us if this is a local custom and why she prefers to “go” by her maiden name, that will be interesting. If not, there’s no point in us wasting time and taking the discussion off topic. With respect, you have turned a simple and very polite enquiry into a debate. By putting “only expressed interest” and “didn’t mean any harm” etc into inverted commas, you are saying that Margaret Mary and myself are in bad faith. I’m both surprised and disappointed at you.

        I’ll withdraw now, awaiting Monica’s response, if any.

        September 6, 2014 at 7:33 pm
      • Petrus


        I repeat.  It’s no one’s business.  What a shame that this brave mother is now having not only how was educates her children questioned, but why she uses her maiden name.  I think she has enough to deal with at the minute without this rubbish.

        Quite frankly, I’m stunned that two bloggers have been so nosey.

        Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

        September 6, 2014 at 7:41 pm
      • editor

        Well make that three, Petrus. Except that it’s not “nosey” to ask why a married woman chooses to use her maiden name. It might be for professional reasons, or business reasons, whatever, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask the question. I’ve asked it of work colleagues in the past and they didn’t taken offence. (The answer was always “professional reasons” usually if a member of staff had been working in the establishment before marriage and didn’t want to change her name, for all sorts of practical reasons which is perfectly understandable.) If a married woman doesn’t want folk asking her why she’s using her maiden name, then maybe she should stick with her married name.

        I enquired of Dan because – since Monica is a home-schooler – it seemed unlikely that she was only using her maiden name for professional or business reasons. I wanted to make sure – frankly – that she is married, as I explained to Dan, in case anyone asked the question on this thread. Women retaining the use of their maiden name is a practise associated with radical feminists, rightly or wrongly, and I know of one priest (in England) who, when a couple present for marriage with two different surnames and one address, puts down his pen and says “we have a problem”. So, it’s perfectly natural to associate this custom, if custom it is, with cohabitation. That is why, to be frank, I do not like it. I’m surprised that Catholic women would choose to keep using their maiden name. It would be interesting, therefore, to hear from Monica on the subject in case there is some rationale that I’ve missed that would explain why women (especially Catholic women) would choose to “go” by their maiden, rather than married name.

        Dan didn’t take offence or think it was a “nosey” question when I emailed to ask how come Monica and Eddie have different surnames? He promptly replied, emailing the response I posted above. Perfectly polite and to the point and but for the fact that Crofterlady seemed to question the fact that it was a not unusual custom in that part of Eire, that would have been an end to it.

        I doubt very much if the “brave mother” (Monica) will give the enquiry a second thought, Petrus. I’m afraid you have misunderstood Margaret Mary’s and Nicky’s interest in the subject, and interpreted it as somehow hostile. That’s not the case, as I hope I have made clear in this comment.

        In summary, it is normal – in the nature of their un-committed relationship – for couples living together outside of marriage to keep their own surnames. Married women, traditionally, assume their husband’s surname. It’s not the end of the world, of course, that Monica (and presumably other Catholic women in that part of Ireland, despite what Crofterlady’s friends say) retain the use of their maiden name but given that it is open to misunderstanding in our permissive Irish and UK societies, I think Monica would understand perfectly well why some of us are interested in learning the reason for the custom. Nothing sinister should be read into our interest. Just as I (and I’m sure Margaret Mary and Nicky) presume that you are well intentioned in your expressions of annoyance about the question being raised, so I hope and pray you will charitably interpret our interest, and put the unpleasant exchanges on the topic down to a genuine misunderstanding.

        I think there is no more to be said on this although if Monica chooses to comment on the subject, that will be most welcome. Otherwise, if we all choose to stick with our personal point of view on the matter, let’s do so in silence and not use up precious cyberspace – shock horror, there might be none left for the “liberals” to spread their poison 😯

        September 6, 2014 at 9:16 pm
    • Petrus

      God bless you, Monica.  Don’t let the animals get you down!

      Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

      September 6, 2014 at 6:25 pm
      • Santiago


        You’re doing a lot of advertising for Samsung Galaxy smartphone!!!

        September 6, 2014 at 7:25 pm
      • Petrus

        Oops!  I need to work out how to get rid of that.  I am the chief executive of Samsung, but I don’t want to advertise that too much!

        Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

        September 6, 2014 at 7:27 pm
    • editor


      Thank you very much for updating us on your situation. You are most welcome here and we are glad to have helped to publicise the injustice you have suffered and may well continue to suffer. You are absolutely right to refuse to “apply” for your “right” – crazy notion!

      As you will see, there has been some conversation about the fact that you have retained the use of your maiden name. One blogger is concerned that you may be offended, so I sincerely hope that is not the case. Anyway, I’ll leave you to read those comments for yourself, thanking you once again for taking the time to come onto this blog to update us. Wonderful that you have been released from prison so quickly. I’ll bet there have been all sorts of meetings involving those with lots of egg on their faces!

      God bless

      September 6, 2014 at 9:24 pm
  • Frankier

    I’m just back from Ireland but if I had known about Monica’s predicament I would have tried to free her when I was in the country. I used to watch a lot of John Wayne films and picked up a few tricks on how to blow up a jail.

    The only reason that I would have rode to the rescue though is because I am desperate to know why her husband keeps his maiden (?) name.

    September 7, 2014 at 8:53 pm
    • crofterlady

      Haha Frankier, hilarious!

      September 7, 2014 at 10:46 pm
    • editor


      You’d have had to be very quick. Monica was only in prison for 3.5 hours! I don’t think even John Wayne’s horse would have made it in time – more likely would have met her coming out!

      September 8, 2014 at 8:46 am
      • Frankier


        I read once in the McGuinness book of lies that big John`s horse could reach 99 miles an hour so it could have been there even before Monica was arrested..

        September 8, 2014 at 2:14 pm
  • Michaela

    Even if only for about three hours, it’s disgraceful that any parent should be jailed for home-schooling. The idea of applying for something that is a right, is nonsensical so I think she was right to refuse to do that.

    I hope we don’t get that sort of thing happening in the UK, although nothing surprises me any more.

    September 8, 2014 at 11:00 am
    • crofterlady

      It did happen in the UK in that the parents of that sick child were jailed for removing him from hospital. Same thing really.

      September 8, 2014 at 11:46 am
  • Frankier

    I think it`s about time that some of the so-called Catholic teachers in this country were arrested for submitting to the state-schooling methods.

    September 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm
  • Leo

    “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.” – Ephesians 6:12

    This ominous attack on the rights of Monica and Eddie O’Neill as the primary educators of their children looks like nothing so much as one more assault by the forces of Organised Naturalism on the family, by means of the State being allowed to usurp the place of parents. It is in lockstep with the march of the ideologues whose dark agenda came to light in the passing of the infamous so-called Childrens’ Rights Referendum two years ago. Don’t anyone fall over with shock when compulsory or forced adoptions of infants born to vulnerable mothers in epically hypocritical, apostate Modern Ireland hits the news. The diabolical errors of Russia are well and truly stalking the land.

    “The security of the State demands that we should be brought back to Him who is the way, the truth, and the life, not as individuals merely, but as human society through all its extent. Christ our Lord must be reinstated as the Ruler of human society. It belongs to Him, as do all its members. All the elements of the commonwealth; legal commands and prohibitions, popular institutions, schools, marriage, home-life, the workshop, and the palace, all must be made to come to that fountain and imbibe the lie that comes from Him.” – Pope Leo XIII, Tametsi, 1900

    “In a word, the communists claim to inaugurate a new era and a new civilisation which is the result of blind evolutionary forces culminating in a“humanity without God”. – Pope Pius XI, Divini Rèdemptoris, 1937

    I wholeheartedly agree with Athanasius’ excellent advice on the Scottish Referendum thread to study that particular encyclical of Pope Pius XI. I might add that the reading the same Pope’s Quas Primas, Ubi Arcano, and Divini Illius Magistri will bring much guidance in this dark storm.

    If anyone thinks that talk of Communists and the New World Order is over the top, or is in any doubt about how important education is in the battle being waged by the forces of Organised Naturalism, just do the research on the Frankfurt School, or Saul Alinksy and his disciples, or the Communist Manifesto, or the Humanist Manifesto.

    As well as reposting what follows, I would also recommend reading the following very informative article by Cornelia Ferreira. There is a second one on New Age education and two on Catholic education that are also very well worth reading.

    My eye was caught by the reference to John Dewey (1859-1952), “the ‘father’ of progressive, modern education. Not surprisingly, he taught that education was a tool for social change. Education is not to develop the child’s talent and knowledge, but only to prepare him to fit into society, into the absolute State.”

    It hardly needs stating that that “absolute State” offers no homage to Our Lord, from whom all power comes (Romans 13:1).

    Of course one of the greatest assets of the forces of organised naturalists is the ignorance and apathy of their prey. Bread and circuses are doing their job perfectly. Televised sports and soaps, the cult of half-wit celebrities, or obsession with self-image are turning minds to mush and diverting attention very effectively. It appears that faced with the relentless, accelerating work of lucifer’s minions, the vast majority of the populace, in Ireland, and elsewhere throughout the Western World, have adopted an attitude resembling nothing so much as cattle watching a train go by: big gawpy heads, and blank, unbothered looks.

    And whether people talk about “conspiracy theories” or “paranoia” or whatever, or whether they even care or not, the foundations of Christian civilisation, built over two millennia by the Catholic Church are being systematically and methodically attacked. In reality, it’s the culmination of a program that has being going on, both openly and secretly, in different stages, for at least five centuries.

    “And, in truth, the teaching of morality which alone finds favour with the sects of the Freemasons, and in which they content that youth should be instructed, is that which they call ‘civil’, and independent,’ and ‘free’, namely, that which does not contain any religious belief.” – Pope Leo XIII, Humanum Genus, 1884

    “With the greatest unanimity the sect of the Freemasons also endeavours to take to itself the education of youth. They think that they can easily mould to their opinions that soft and pliant age, and bend it whither they will; and that nothing can be more fitted that this to enable them to bring up the youth of the State after their own plan. Therefore in the education and instruction of children they allow no share, either of teaching or of discipline, to the ministers of the Church…and that nothing which treats of the most important and most holy duties of men to God shall be introduced into the instructions on morals.” (ibid)

    I don’t think any parents should have any illusions about what is happening in education. America has given the lead in many secular developments in the West, over the last century. Here’s an insight into some of the forces at work in education there for several decades.

    Rhoda Lorand, a member of the American Board of Professional Psychology, made some observations about the attitudes of educators before the U.S. House Sub-Committee on Education. Her testimony related to House Resolution 5163 having to do with education. Her words are as follows:
    “The contempt for parents is so shockingly apparent in many of the courses funded under Title III, in which the teacher is required to become an instant psychiatrist who probes the psyche of her pupils, while encouraging them to criticize their parents’ beliefs, values and teachings. This process continues from kindergarten through the twelfth grade.”- Alex Tanous and Katherine Fair Donnelly, “Your Kids Are Psychic!,” Instructor Magazine, April 1980, 65.

    The January/February 1983 issue of The Humanist carried this article titled “A Religion for a New Age.” The author stated:

    “I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level preschool day care or large state university.- Frances Adeney, “Some Schools Are Looking East for Answers,” Moody Monthly, May 1982, 19.

    Does anyone seriously think that the rest of the Western World has escaped the clutches of the education ideologues? In view of the huge stakes here, the persecution of Monica O’Connor and her family is surely only a few opening shots from the totalitarian forces. I know the police behaved sympathetically and humanely in this instance, but watching pictures of the squad car arrive at the family home I couldn’t help thinking of times long past when the agents of a foreign oppressor came for peoples’ land and livestock. Different times, different Power. The children are the target these days. In times past in Ireland, staunch support from family and fellow parishioners in times of trial was guaranteed. That’s going to be called on more and more in response to the orders of the faceless antichrist commissars who are waging war against the Family for their foreign masters.

    As with so many other issues, the challenge is to once again establish the Social Kingship of Christ over our lands. The following words from a true Prince of the Church, whose writings were included in Saint Pius X’s daily reading.

    “When a country’s Christianity is reduced to the proportions of domestic life, when Christianity is no longer the soul of public life, of the power of the state and of public institutions, then Jesus Christ will treat such a country as He Himself is treated. He will continue to bestow His Grace and His Blessings on those who serve Him but He will abandon the institutions and authorities that do not serve Him, and such institutions, authorities, kings and races become like the sands of the desert or like the dead leaves in autumn which can be blown away by a gust of wind.”- Cardinal Pie of Poitiers.

    September 8, 2014 at 11:42 pm
    • Josephine


      You highlight an important and worrying development in schools, which is the way teachers act as psychiatric nurses and also policemen, probing the children for information/evidence against their parents’ “abuse” including “imposing” their values and beliefs on their children.

      We are seeing the consequences of this all the time now. It is a total invasion of parental rights over their own children and homes.

      September 9, 2014 at 1:40 pm
    • editor


      Many thanks for those wonderful quotes. Your posts are always a treasure trove and an education – higher level education of course!

      September 9, 2014 at 10:01 pm
  • Margaret Mary


    Thank you for that great comment on the “ominous attack” on Monica and Eddie O’Neill – I couldn’t agree more.

    I am not sure if this is off topic but I noticed that Cardinal Sean Brady has resigned and thought I would post the link here

    September 9, 2014 at 10:08 am
    • gabriel syme

      Cardinal Bradys resignation speech:

      to have taken part in the conclave that elected Pope Francis — that conclave has been the highlight of my life,


      He seems to be trying to praise modernism, but – as he ultimately resigns in ignominy himself – he shows its true worth and the damage it has done.

      September 10, 2014 at 12:48 am
  • Spiritus

    Below is an excellent article by journalist John Waters in the Irish Independent of Wednesday, September 10th 2014 in relation to the above, and also making mention of the Ashya case. Mr. Waters is arguing that the State is turning “big brother” on the family.

    The laws used to pursue and imprison the parents of Ashya King were introduced to fight terrorism, a purpose for which they have been an abject failure. Now they come into their own in terrorising an innocent family.
    The fundamental dynamics of this story are familiar to me from dealing in recent years with people on the run from British family courts or social services. I have come across several dozen such cases, in which parents and, in one instance, an extended family fled here believing that our written constitution would offer greater protections for their ‘natural’ rights as parents.

    Invariably, it was clear that the UK authorities had come to believe that any rights or freedoms such families might enjoy were on loan to them from the state, which could withdraw them at will. Deplorably, too, these families almost invariably discovered that, contaminated by similar outlooks, the Irish courts were willing to turn black into white to find in favour of the UK authorities and wash their hands of the problem. I have seen more than a few parents brutalised similarly to Brett and Naghmeh King, having a child snatched from their arms, left wailing by the roadside as strangers took their children to the airport. Invariably, these were parents who had simply had the misfortune to come under the scrutiny of busybody social workers seeking to find something easy to do to avoid responsibility for more difficult cases.

    Several times, I sought to interest Irish broadcasters in making public what was happening – to no avail. And sometimes, within weeks or days of writing about such heartbreaks, I was called upon to write about cases in which Irish courts decided, against the wishes of the parents, to switch off the life-support of a child deemed by ‘experts’ to have no prospect of regaining what they deemed an acceptable quality of life. On the one hand, the state presents itself as seeking, ‘in the best interests of children’, to overrule parents about the best way to make a child well; on the other, the state argues that it is in the best interests of the child to be dead.

    This is the new totalitarianism. Its logic – and what it portends – creeps up on us unbeknownst, in all the talk about ‘new rights’, ‘new family types’, ‘children’s rights’ and the blank refusal of liberal intellectual establishments to answer questions about the selectivity and senselessness of their agendas.

    One of the scariest phrases I’ve heard in recent times – heard increasingly in radio discussions and from the mouths of politicians here and in the UK – is: “We have to get over our obsession with biological parenthood”. The mentality behind this sentence is at the root of the horrific events in the Ashya case, where normative restraints of justice, fairness and feeling were suspended. A decade ago, the process would have been about supporting the family to provide the best possible treatment. Nowadays, such decisions are made not out of love, but on the basis of an ideology which ordains that ‘the state knows best’, implemented by faceless actors protected by laws conceived in different times to protect families and children.

    In the King case, not alone was the biological connection between the parents and the child seen as irrelevant, but a prejudicial idea of the family’s religious beliefs led to the parents being treated like criminals and in effect accused of being incapable of loving their child. Still, the Kings were ‘lucky’ – circumstances ensured that the ‘human interest’ value of their story trumped the usual ideological factors afflicting journalists, and so politicians were unable to hide from the facts of what was happening.

    – See more at:

    September 12, 2014 at 12:05 am
    • editor


      Thank you for posting that terrific article by John Waters about the Ashya King case as an example of the way the State interferes in parental authority. I went through to the original article but there is no way to comment or to contact John Waters, to congratulate him.

      It has amazed me to see how little through to no commentary there has been on the Ashya King case and others (including the legislation in Scotland to provide every child with a State Guardian who can over-rule parents.) I can’t think of (although may have missed, admittedly) any article in any UK newspaper as clear and as forthright as John Waters in the Irish Independent. The only brief discussion of it in the broadcast media was full of people wavering between “doctor knows best” and “it’s up to the parents”. I can’t recall ONE strong voice on the subject, so effective has been the conditioning of the population over a period of years.

      I find myself thinking that, frankly, parents deserve all that is coming to them, for their lack of protest at these tyrannical State invasions of the home.

      September 12, 2014 at 10:42 am
  • Catherine

    I would be interested to hear what bloggers think of the link above .

    September 16, 2014 at 10:32 pm
    • editor


      What is worrying about that report is that it is yet another example of state tyranny.

      Even if – as may be the case here – there is something wrong with the family, there is surely no need to imprison the mother and send the (by their own admission) highly intelligent daughter to a residential centre in another part of the country. The daughter made clear that she did not want to be separated from her mother. Why does the State think it knows better?

      It is the notion that the State owns families and can do what it likes with them, that is really worrying.

      If a friend or relative believed there to be a problem in a family connected to them, they would take friendly steps to help resolve the situation surely. Not many of us would demand that the family be split up. How can that help? There has to be other – more effective – means to rectify this sort of situation than flexing “legal” muscles.

      September 17, 2014 at 11:16 am

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: