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Address: ‘Crannagh Mills,’ Summerhill, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. Phone: 0857496342 E-mail: Web:

Men’s Support Groups of Ireland Tri-annual Newsletter No.1 May 2011 NEWSFLASH MSGI have today 12th May 2011 just been informed of the sudden death of Eugene Finane and would like to take this opportunity to express their deepest sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues in USPI.

Welcome to the first edition of MSGI e-zine our online newsletter, our aim and purpose of the newsletter is to keep all the affiliated groups up to date and informed of current and upcoming events. Since our inaugural meeting on 16th January last, the steering committee has been busy meeting and developing strategy, policy and a set of ground rules with a vision as to how MSGI can operate into the future.

Table of Contents Introduction by MSGI Founding Member MSGI Inaugural Conference 16th January 2011 MSGI Legal Status Owen Mullins (acting treasurer) Election of Steering Committee & Sub Committees Legal Report MSGI - Vision for the Solution to the Problem Website Development In the Media ‌..... Joe on Frontline Volunteering - Make a Difference Funding - Wheel Membership Funding applications Upcoming Events Other Events Press Release Tuesday 10th May, 2011 Anti Father ISPCC campaign launched 10th May 2011 Some comments from facebook: Brian Keelty Fact, Waterford Owen Mullins Declan Keaveney

Introduction by MSGI Founding Member Hi, my name is Joseph Egan and I am the founding member of the Men’s Support groups of Ireland (MSGI) who are an umbrella group for men’s rights, father’s rights, men’s health, parenting and family equality groups in Ireland. MSGI was set up in 2010 with a view to uniting all the individual organisations in the country who have been providing support to men and parents who have lost access to their children at the hands of the family court system in Ireland. The principal focus of the group is to centralise information, provide resources and to prepare men who are entering the divorce process or are being denied custodial rights for the struggle that they face in this country. Additionally, to provide the coping skills necessary necessary for the aftermath of relationship breakdown. Currently the MSGI has identified 33 different men’s support groups in Ireland. Invariably, it is the fathers who have lost their homes and are being alienated from their children, and it is the children themselves who are suffering the consequences to the detriment of society as a whole. MSGI is primarily a group focused on men’s equality. It needs to be recognized that the qualities and shortcomings of all people both as parents and citizens can not be prejudged because of their gender, race, religion or sexual preference. MSGI is absolutely opposed to violence and the violent abuse and intimidation of women, men, mothers or fathers. MSGI as a group will never condone abuse or intimidation of this nature. MSGI is opposed to gender bias in the courts and feel that children need the right to have free access to both their parents unless circumstances which prove otherwise are proven and demonstrated in court. ● MSGI believe that the current approach to family court and child custody in Ireland is outdated and misinformed. ● Why should parents be pushed to fight like enemies for the right to care for a child who needs both. continued on the next page

● MSGI believe that parental alienation is wrong and the ultimate example of hate crime. ● MSGI believe that any parent who lies in court or purposely deny their own child the right access to both parents should be punished. ● MSGI also believe that parity of esteem for men is essential if we are to have a true society based on egalitarian principles. MSGI believe that the Irish Republic should adopt the Northern European model of mediation between estranged parents for the benefit of the child. Also, that the state should pursue the concept of duel access for both parents. That there is no room in society for lawyers or a legal system to protect their agenda to benefit financially from alienating its own young citizens from their parents. MSGI believe that the concept of mother and father are sacred and equal in a child’s life. MSGI believe strongly that when these forces are available and capable, that nobody has the right to dilute their authority over their own children. Please enjoy the first edition of the MSGI newsletter and you feedback will help to improve future editions. Joe Egan, May 2011 ______________________________________________________________

MSGI Inaugural Conference 16th January 2011 Joe Egan launched the conference and welcomed everyone to the Sheraton Hotel in Athlone. ● MSGI Legal Status John Marques gave an overview of the way a group would go about setting up a company and what we would be required to do in the event that we choose to do so. ● Owen Mullins (acting treasurer) Gave an update on MSGI finances and encouraged everyone to make a contribution towards the cost of the conference. ● Election of Steering Committee & Sub Committees The election of the steering committee was held in the afternoon. The following personnel were elected to the steering committee for a period of 1 year with the option of extending for a second year, future elections will elect the committee for a period of 2 years:Founder Coordinator Joseph A Egan Chairman Brian Keelty Treasurer Owen Mullins Assistant Treasurer Juan C Project Manager Core Funding Alan Beirne Secretary Shiva Periasamy Legal Research John Don Operations Valarie Flanagan Assistant Operation Jerome O’Connell Assistant Chairman Sean Kelly Assistant Secretary Robert Pigott Assistant Research Gerry Walshe

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● Legal Report John Don (Legal Researcher) has been doing great work on the recent Law Reform Commission published report entitled “Legal Aspects of Family Relationships”. MSGI maintains that this piece of proposed legislation along with the Labour parties Guardianship of Children's Bill are together the most threatening pieces of legislation ever to be written in this country. This legislation “if implemented, will destroy forever the father-child relationship as we know it,” MSGI states. MSGI also states that “The LRC report “Legal Aspects of Family Relationships” was launched in December 2010, It was heralded with complete uncritical acceptance by the Irish media to be a wonderful panacea, that would bring Irish society to an enlightened age of legal equality for single fathers and protect their relationship with their children. In truth it is probably the single most pernicious document against all fathers ever published by a state body.” MSGI continues to work on a response to this proposed legislation and will be issuing a press release in the coming days.

MSGI - Vision for the Solution to the Problem Our E-Learning with MSGI website uses Moodle, this is a free open source system which creates an electronic learning website environment known as a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Basically it’s a website that let’s you access course materials to learn about various different topics, helps with your studies by allowing COLLABORATION between learners and let’s you share work, information, files, etc.. ● Website Development MSGI are currently developing a website which will act as further support to all the various men’s support groups nationwide. The website which will be hosted on "" on a temporary basis will contain latest news, links to nationwide support groups as well as links to an educational database being developed by MSGI. It is hoped that this site will serve as an information centre for men experiencing difficult situations as a result of relationship breakdown. It is hoped that through this site that more men will find help and share experiences.

In the Media ‌..... Joe on Frontline MSGI received tremendous awareness and publicity when our Coordinator, Mr Joe Egan appeared on Frontline with Pat Kenny. Sitting in the front row, Joe got to speak on more than one occasion highlighting that in our society, fathers are not being given the opportunity to be involved in their children's lives after separation. Joe also pointed out the discrimination against men where they are not allowed receive the Children's allowance even where they may have lost their jobs and are the primary carers. It was also pointed out that while we welcome all of the good things that happen to women there is a lot happening to the detriment of men in Ireland. It was also positive to see a representative of one of our member groups, Mr Noel Davis, of The Irish Men’s Network, also taking the opportunity to express his opinion. The MSGI are currently preparing to appear on 9 similar style programmes to further highlight our concerns and gain awareness.

Volunteering - Make a Difference Interesting Irish Times supplement this week on volunteerism, worth taking a look at. There is a saying that 'he who gives when he is asked, has waited too long'. Just because we are volunteers doesn't mean we can’t be professional. Volunteers are people who see a need and say "let me help." That offer of help is made without thought of any personal reward beyond the fulfillment that comes from giving. We encourage volunteering and encourage others to get involved, to volunteer and to discover: ● the hidden treasury of fun, ● friendships, ● insight, ● wisdom, ● experience and ● personal well-being that comes from being of service to others. Ireland is the only country which has such a dynamic volunteer ethic at work enriching everyday life.

Never take the volunteer for granted & Never pass up the opportunity to be a volunteer. Please Donate

Funding - Wheel Membership The Wheel is a support and representative body connecting community and voluntary organisations and charities across Ireland. Established in 1999, The Wheel has evolved to become a resource centre and forum for the community and voluntary sector. On the 14th February, last the MSGI joined the wheel, one of the big advantages to joining the wheel for MSGI is that we have access to a database of potential funding sources as well as help and information in making grant applications. There are also other tips and hints on how to get help with fundraising or for example an easy way for the group to make some cash if you have charitable status. As you can see the initial membership cost of €30 has been a worthwhile investment. ● Funding applications There have been a total of 7 applications made on behalf of MSGI seeking funding for various projects. a) In the latter part of 2010, TWO applications for funding were made to The Equality Authority under the ‘Proposal for Support Equality Innovation Fund 2010-2011’ ● The first application was for ‘The production of an information leaflet for unmarried fathers re guardianship status’. ● The second application was for ‘Development and Implementation of a Training Programme to train up to four people to act as a “McKenzie Friend / Friend in Court” in each of the affiliated MSGI groups. This will ensure the proper unbiased delivery of Children First by initially training one “Seed” McKenzie Friend in each of the Groups, who would then waterfall their training to others within their Group, thereby achieving our targets.’ Unfortunately, this time, neither applications were successful. b) Core funding application to the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs. This application was made on behalf of MSGI by Parental Equality. MSGI won’t know the outcome of this for another couple of weeks.

c) 2 applications to HSE Dublin North East and HSE Mid Leinster were lodged for a decision in June. d) CIB An application was made to the Citizens Information Board CIB for a grant under the Publication Grants Scheme and are awaiting a response. e) An application to the Ireland Funds was lodged on 31st March and applicants will be notified of decision by June 2011.

Upcoming Events Universal Periodic Review - Public Consultation Meetings Members of the public and organisations have been invited to take part in public consultation meetings to discuss Ireland’s domestic human rights record as part of the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. A series of public meetings will be held around the country as follows: DUBLIN, Monday 16/05/2011, 7-10 pm. St. Andrew’s Resource Centre, 114 Pearse St. , Dublin 2 ATHLONE, Wednesday 18/05/2011, 7-10 pm. Douglas Hyde theatre, Athlone Institute of Technology, Dublin Road , Athlone KILKENNY, Friday 20/05/2011, 7-10 pm The Parade Tower , Kilkenny Castle LIMERICK, Monday 23/05/2011, 7-10 pm Room 310, Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road , Limerick SLIGO, Wednesday 25/05/2011, 7-10 pm Room A0006, Institute of Technology Sligo, Ash Lane , Sligo CORK, Friday 27/05/2011, 7-10 pm Boole 1, University College Cork , College Road , Cork DUBLIN, Monday 30/05/2011, 7-10 pm Axis Ballymun Theatre, Main Street , Ballymun, Dublin 9 continued on the next page

Le dea-ghuí, LaylaLayla de Cogan Chin UPR Secretariat / Rúnaíocht an UPR (Universal Periodic Review / Athbhreithniú Tréimhsiúil Uilechoiteann) Department of Justice and Equality An Roinn Dlí agus Cirt agus Comhionannais Ph. 01 6473069

○ Other Events Wheel Annual Conference 26th May 2011 Croke Park Wheel Annual General Meeting same day

Press Release Tuesday 10th May, 2011 Anti Father ISPCC campaign launched 10th May 2011 The ISPCC have launched a campaign, what can only be termed as anti father and anti male. This very disturbing advertising campaign seeks to vilify and demonise dads and all men. “This is not the first time that such an Ad campaign has been launched” said Joe Egan the founder of the Men’s Support Groups of Ireland (MSGI). In an online bulletin this evening he stated that after the previous media campaign by the ISPCC last Christmas, that the CEO Mr Ashley Balbirnie said they would consult MSGI before they would launch any further media campaigns. “This has not happened” said Joe “in fact it would appear that they have deliberately mislead us into believing that they would work closely with us to avoid such incitement to hate comments and campaigns as we are currently experiencing.” The MSGI group are officially asking that the ISPCC withdraw their current Ad titled “I Can’t Wait Until I Grow Up …. The ISPCC Summer Campaign”. It is offensive and disturbing to all fathers who have a caring and loving relationship with their children and does little to serve the cause which they purport to support and promote Awareness on the MSGI Facebook Wall was backed up when Sean Carraher provided a link to a direct complaint from The Advertising Standards Authority. Many members also shared these links on their own personal Walls to help reach out to a broader audience. continued on the next page

Some comments from facebook: ● Brian Keelty “To all the people I know out there, please contact the ISPCC and complain about the blatant father bashing... They did the same at Christmas and promised it would never happen again....... This ad hold the falsehood's about men being the sole abusers of children, and WILL effect you as a man in court if your relationship breaks down” ● Fact, Waterford “its a sick way to raise awareness to their campaign why don't they do a video with a child been raped and abused buy their mother. Has everyone forgotten the Roscommon case, the Cork issue , and the midlands, it's time every man stood up and stopped themselves from been portrayed in this way, can we all imagine what our sons today who the ISPCC portray to protect will experience when they grow up” ● Owen Mullins “With regard to your current fundraising campaign, "I Can't Wait Until I Grow Up". Should this campaign prove to be discriminatory or in anyway or contrary to the Statute Law of this country, I will do my utmost to ensure that The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children will have it's charitable status withdrawn by the Revenue Commissioner’s. I would suggest that your organisation withdraw this campaign immediately”. ● Declan Keaveney “The ISPCC should be more balanced in the manner they portray who the perperator might far as they are concerned it always seems to be a man/parent/father...” Find us at: Twitter, Facebook Elearning Issuu Vimeo

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