A new opinion poll conducted by Amarach Research on behalf of The Iona Institute has found that ninety-one percent of respondents believe that when a child is being placed for adoption, it is best to place the child with a man and a woman.

Ireland’s new Children and Family Relationships Bill has no such preference, meaning it is at odds with the opinion of the vast majority of Irish people, says Iona’s director David Quinn. “No assumption is made that it is in a child’s best interests to be placed with a mother and father when he or she is being placed for adoption.”

The question put to respondents was as follows: When a child is available for adoption, who is it best to place the child with? (rank in order of preference, 1 for ‘best’ and ‘5’ for least best)

A man
A woman
A man and a woman
Two women
Two men
(NB: The above options were rotated)

Ninety-one percent of respondents said their first preference is a man and a woman. The second preference was a woman on her own, followed by two women, then a man on his own, and finally by two men.

“The poll therefore makes absolutely clear that the overwhelming choice for Irish people when a child is being placed for adoption is for that child to be placed with a man and a woman. This does not exclude other options, but it means they believe there should be an order of preference, and the preference is very clear,” said Mr Quinn.

“There will be circumstances when the preference for motherhood and fatherhood could be set aside in the case of a particular child, but good reasons should always be offered for doing this. However, the philosophy behind the Bill is that there is no advantage, all other things being equal, in placing a child with a man and a woman above two men or two women.”

* The Iona Institute question was asked as part of a monthly omnibus survey by Amárach Research last month, comprising an online sample of 1,000 adults aged 16 and over, weighted to represent the total adult population.

This article is based on a press release from the Iona Institute.

David Quinn is the Director of the Iona Institute iin Dublin. He is a well known journalist who specialises in religious and social affairs. Currently he has columns in both The Irish Independent and The...