Iona Institute

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The Iona Institute is the name of an Irish conservative think tank, that says it "promotes the place of marriage and religion in society". [1] It is known for being a regular talking head of religious dogma in the Irish media especially with the public broadcaster RTÉ, on spouting on various social issues including marriage, abortion and the family. The name itself refers to the Iona Abbey, a Scottish church based on the isle of Iona which is the centre of Celtic Christian mythology. Since its founding, the director of Iona has been David QuinnWikipedia, a former editor of the traditionalist Irish Catholic weekly newspaper and former religious affairs correspondent for the conservative Irish Independent daily newspaper. Conservative writer Breda O'BrienWikipedia who writes a weekly column for the centrist Irish Times newspaper, is a patron of the institute. [2]

Despite its name touting as a non-profit, it actually a brand of the company "Lolek Company Limited By Guarantee" [3], which according to the national companies register shows that a limited company as charities or institutes doesn't need to state they are limited by guarantee.[4]


The institute came into international view when during an interview on RTÉ's The Saturday Night Show female impersonator Rory O’Neill (aka by his drag name Panti Bliss) accuse them as well as two other columnists Breda O'Brien and John Waters, of being homophobic on the grounds of opposing same-sex marriage. Iona threatens RTÉ with libel action, but rather going to court RTÉ paid a pre-out-of-court settlement of €85 000. [5] This action was criticised by Rory O’Neill [6], later others including gay-rights campaigner David Norris in Seanad and Paul Murphy in the European Parliament as silencing of freedom of speech. [7] This event led to a Streisand effect on Panti and made her a cause célèbre for gay rights in Ireland and became the face of same-sex marriage referendum in Ireland.


External links[edit]