Ahead of the Feast of Saint Valentine on 14 February, Irish Accord Catholic Marriage Care Service published the report on marriage preparation courses and marriage and relationship counselling services provided in 2018. The report shows that 16,048 people attended marriage preparation courses across Ireland in 2018. In addition to this, 24,180 counselling sessions to individuals and couples were provided throughout Ireland, north and south. A new research was also published undertaken by Maynooth University, commissioned by Accord, entitled “Client Demographics, Needs Assessment and Outcomes” based on feedback from Accord counselling sessions. One of the findings of the study was that the use of technology and social media causes difficulty in relationships. Today at midday, ahead of St Valentine’s Day, Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare & Leighlin, President of Accord Catholic Marriage Care Service, will bless engaged couple Ms Emer Duffy and Mr Killian Casey from Ballyboden at the Shrine of the holy relics of Saint Valentine in the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in the Archdiocese of Dublin. The first Accord Center in Ireland was established in 1962 at Saint Mary’s Parish, Belfast, in the Diocese of Down & Connor. Up until recently, Accord was an agency of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and operated as an unincorporated association. Since 2017, Accord Catholic Marriage Care Service has changed its governance structure to operate as three distinct companies. Accord companies currently operate in 54 centres throughout the island of Ireland – north and south – and are committed to providing relationships and sexuality education programmes as well as counselling services to both couples and individuals.