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Section 12 - Family services

This Section outlines details of:

  • Family Affairs Unit
  • Family Support Agency
  • Family Mediation Service
  • Grants for Voluntary Organisations providing
    Marriage, Child and Bereavement Counselling
  • Family and Community Services Resource
    Centre Programme
  • Research and Information


12.1Family Affairs Unit

12.2Family Support Agency

12.3The Family Support Agency's Family Mediation Service

12.4Grants for Voluntary Organisations providing Marriage, Child and Bereavement Counselling Services

12.5The Family Support Agency's Family and Community Services Resource Centre Programme

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12.1 Family Affairs Unit

The Family Affairs Unit is responsible for co-ordinating family policy. It is also responsible for policy in relation to schemes supporting lone parents and the Guardian's Payment Scheme.

The unit also works closely with other Government departments and agencies on a range of Government programmes supporting families and children.

You can get further details from:

Family Affairs Unit
Department of Social and Family Affairs
Floor 1
�ras Mhic Dhiarmada
Store Street
Dublin 1

Telephone: (01) 704 3593 or 704 3506

12.2 Family Support Agency

The Family Support Agency (FSA) was established in May 2003 and was set up to provide support to families. The main support services of the FSA are provided in a number of ways:

  • locally based Family Resource Centres,
  • supporting organisations providing Marriage, Relationship, Child and Bereavement Counselling Services,
  • family mediation for couples going through a separation or divorce,
  • research into family related matters,
  • provision of information on family related matters,
  • advising the Minister for Social and Family Affairs on family related matters.

You can get further information from:

The Family Support Agency
St. Stephen�s Green House
Earlsfort Terrace
Dublin 2
Telephone: (01) 611 4100
Website: www.fsa.ie

12.3 The Family Support Agency's Family Mediation Service

Family Mediation is a professional and confidential service for people, married and non-married, who have decided to separate or divorce and who want to negotiate the terms of their separation or divorce with the help of a mediator.

Family Mediation helps the people reach an agreement that meets the interests of both of them and the needs of their children. It helps them to address the issues on which they need to make decisions including:

  • parenting the children,
  • financial support,
  • family home,
  • pensions.

The service is provided free of charge and takes between three and six sessions.

How the service operates

A professionally trained Mediator helps the couple to reach their own agreement. Both spouses or partners attend and discussions are confidential. The Mediator is a neutral third party, so will not take sides.

To use this service, both parties must make an appointment and confirm their willingness to attend.

Most mediations end with a written document that sets out all the details of the couple's agreement. You can take this to a solicitor to be drawn into a Legal Deed of Separation and/or as part of an application for a Decree of Divorce.

Advantages of mediation

Each mediated agreement is unique and tailor-made to the needs of both parties.

A balanced agreement is reached, so no one need be a 'winner' or 'loser'.

When both parties take decisions together they are more likely to be honoured.

Mediation promotes communication and co-operation, reducing bitterness and distress. Parents are helped to remain as partners in childrearing by developing plans that are personal to each family. Parents are helped to manage conflict in a way that protects the best interests of the children.

Information leaflets

The following range of leaflets are available to help separating couples to consider some of the aspects of separation.

  • What is the Family Mediation Service?
  • The End of Marriage - a Time for Grieving and Loss.
  • How Children react to Separation and Divorce.
  • We are Separating. What do we tell the Children?
  • What is a Parenting Plan?
  • Managing the Stress of Separation or Divorce.
  • Managing the Financial Issues at Separation or Divorce.

For further details, you should contact the Family Mediation Service at one of the following branches:




1st Floor
St. Stephen's Green House
Earlsfort Terrace
Dublin 2

Telephone: (01) 634 4320
Fax: (01) 662 2339


1st Floor
Ross House
Merchant's Road

Telephone: (091) 509 730
Fax: (091) 567 623


Hibernian House
80a South Mall

Telephone: (021) 425 2200
Fax: (021) 425 1331


1st Floor
Mill House
Henry Street

Telephone: (061) 214 310
Fax: (061) 312 225





Suite 10, 1st Floor
Inish Carraig Business Centre
Golden Island
Co. Westmeath

Telephone: (090) 642 0970
Fax: (090) 647 7011

Opening hours:
Mon & Tues: 9am-1pm, 2pm-5pm,
Wed: 9am-12:30pm


West End House
West End Business Park
Snugborough Road Extension
Dublin 15

Telephone: (01) 811 8650
Fax: (01) 821 1877

Opening hours:
Mon, Thurs & Fri:
9am-1pm, 2pm-5pm


c/o Family Centre
Chapel Street
Co. Mayo

Telephone: (094) 903 5120
Fax: (094) 903 7811

Opening hours:
Mon: 9am-12:30pm
Tues & Wed: 9am-1pm, 2pm-5pm


Skillings House, first floor offices
Raheny Shopping Centre
Howth Road
Dublin 5

Telephone: (01) 851 0730

Opening hours:
Tues: 9am-12:30pm
Thurs & Fri: 9am-1pm, 2pm-5pm


10 Seatown Place
Co. Louth

Telephone: (042) 935 9410
Fax: (042) 933 8514

Opening hours:
Tues & Thurs: 9.30am-1pm, 2pm-5.30pm,
Wed: 9am-1pm


Abbey Street

Telephone: (071) 913 7430
Fax: (071) 914 6401

Opening hours:
Mon & Tues: 9am-1pm, 2pm-5pm,
Wed: 9am-12:30pm


The Rere
Tallaght Social Services Centre
The Square
Dublin 24

Telephone: (01) 414 5180
Fax: (01) 462 5956

Opening hours:
Wed: 9am-12:30pm
Thurs & Fri: 9am-1pm, 2pm-5pm


Unit 2, Market Place
Maine Street
Co. Kerry

Telephone: (066) 718 6100
Fax: (066) 712 9332

Opening hours:
Mon & Tues: 9am-1pm, 2pm-5pm,
Wed: 9am-12:30pm


13b Wallace House
Maritana Gate
Canada Street

Telephone: (051) 860 460

Opening hours:
Mon & Thurs: 9am-1pm, 2pm-5pm,
Wed: 9am-12:30pm


32 Key West
Custom House Quay

Telephone: (053) 9163 050
Fax: (053) 9123 576

Opening hours:
Tues & Wed: 9am-1pm, 2pm-5pm,
Thurs: 9am-12:30pm


3rd Floor
Riverfront House
Pearse Road
Co. Donegal

Telephone: (074) 910 2240
Fax: (074) 912 5680

Opening hours:
Mon & Tues: 9am-1pm, 2pm-5pm,
Wed: 9am-12:30pm


Level 2 Grattan House
Grattan Business Centre
Co. Laois

Telephone: (057) 869 5730
Fax: (057) 869 5723

Opening hours:
Thurs & Fri: 9am-1pm, 2pm-5pm,

The Family Mediation Service is part of the Family Support Agency (see Section 12.2 for details).

Please note that Family Mediation Service have no child-minding facilities and therefore no children under 14 years should be brought into the Family Mediation Service offices. It is strict Family Mediation Service policy that children however young, will not be admitted to a mediation session except for a pre-arranged family session or a direct consultation with children session.

12.4 Grants for Voluntary Organisations providing Marriage, Child and Bereavement Counselling Services

The Family Support Agency provides grants to voluntary organisations providing:

  • marriage and relationship counselling,
  • marriage preparation courses,
  • child counselling in relation to parental separation,
  • bereavement counselling and support on the death of a family

The Family Support Agency has a directory of the voluntary organisations providing counselling which sets out the services county by county.

Who can apply for these grants?

Grants are available to voluntary organisations that provide:

  • marriage/relationship counselling services helping people to deal
  • with difficulties they experience in their relationships,
  • marriage preparation courses,
  • counselling services to children whose lives have been affected
    by parental separation,
  • bereavement counselling and support to families on the death
    of a family member.
How do organisations qualify for the funding?

An organisation will qualify if:

  • it offers one or more of the services specified above,
  • the service is well run, including management and back-up support for the service and qualifications and training of counsellors,
  • there is a demand for the service it offers, including the number of clients using the service in a particular area and the number of people waiting for an appointment.

Grants are usually advertised in the national and local newspapers in the early months of the year.

For further details contact:

The Family Support Agency
Counselling Grants Section
Floor 4
St. Stephen's Green House
Earlsfort Terrace
Dublin 2

Telephone: (01) 611 4100
Website: www.fsa.ie

12.5 The Family Support Agency's Family and Community Services Resource Centre Programme

Family Resource Centres provide a wide variety of supports and services to people within their own community. These may include:

  • Information, advice and support to particular groups and families in the area,
  • Practical assistance to community groups such as training,
    information, advice and photocopying facilities,
  • Education courses and training opportunities,
  • Child-care facilities for those attending courses provided by the
  • Helping young fathers to be involved in the lives of their children,
  • Involvement of men in the life of the community,
  • Lone parents groups
  • Women�s groups
  • After school clubs
  • Older peoples groups
  • Parenting courses

These supports and services uphold the community development ethos and the principle of inclusiveness, both central to the values of the Family Support Agency.

For further details, contact:

Family Support Agency
Family Resource Centre Section
Floor 4
St. Stephen�s Green House
Earlsfort Terrace
Dublin 2
Telephone: (01) 611 4100
Website: http://www.fsa.ietelephone/: (01) 611 4100
Website: www.fsa.ie

Occupational and Personal Pensions

Have you considered your overall pension position on retirement?

You should now consider your overall pensions position on retirement. An occupational or personal pension is a way of making regular savings for your retirement. When you retire you use the fund you have built up to provide a regular income for the rest of your life. You can receive this income in addition to your State Pension (Contributory) or State Pension (Transition).

For more information in relation to Occupational and Personal Pensions contact the Pensions Board, Verscholyle House, Mount St, Dublin 2. Telephone: 01 6131900, Email: info@pensionsboard.ie.

See Section 2.10 for further details on Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs)

Last modified:22/04/2009

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