Reilly denies Accord funding cut linked to referendum

The minister responsible for Túsla says its decision to cut funding for the Catholic marriage agency Accord has nothing to do with the referendum on same-sex marriage.

Reilly denies Accord funding cut linked to referendum

The minister responsible for Túsla says its decision to cut funding for the Catholic marriage agency Accord has nothing to do with the referendum on same-sex marriage.

James Reilly says Túsla is happy to fund marriage counselling services, but not religious marriage preparation courses.

He was responding to claims in the Dáil from independent TD Mattie McGrath, who believes the funding is linked to the referendum.

Minister Reilly says Túsla is simply treating Accord the same as it treats every other outside agency.

He said: "Túsla will spend approximately €6m on counselling services this year, including the provision of significant funding to Accord, which amounts to over a quarter of the available funding.

"Túsla has determined that marriage preparation courses, which are paid for by couples, do not form part of its core mission.

"I am informed by Túsla that they do not provide funding to any other dedicated marriage preparation courses."

However, Mattie McGrath says he cannot accept that the cut to Accord's funding is unrelated to the referendum.

He said those agencies would find it even harder to get State funding if the referendum is carried.

Mr McGrath said: "It's a despicable attack on an agency and what does that message send out to those Catholic agencies and others, if the referendum is passed?

"They will have to go whistle for their money, and get nothing because you won't give it to them."

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