Maria Steen

Maria Steen is an Irish conservative campaigner. She is a qualified architect and a barrister. She is a member of the Iona Institute, and campaigned unsuccessfully against same-sex marriage, and abortion in Ireland.

Maria Steen
Maria Davin

Alma materKing's Inns, University College Dublin
OccupationArchitect, Barrister
Known forAnti-abortion campaigning
Spouse(s)Neil Steen

Involvement in same-sex marriage referendumEdit

In the run up to the 2015 Irish same-sex marriage referendum, she was one of the members of the Iona Institute who threatened legal action against RTÉ over claims from Rory O'Neill that the Iona Institute were homophobic, and received part of the €85,000 settlement (a.k.a. "Pantigate").[1][2]

She participated in TV debates on the run up to the referendum.[3] Ultimately, the referendum was approved by 62% of voters on a turnout of 61%.[4]

Anti-abortion campaigningEdit

She opposed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, which legislated for the X Case after the A, B and C v Ireland decision from the ECHR, claiming it was "wrong and unnecessary".[5]

She represented the Iona Institute at the Citizen's Assembly, which was discussing Irish abortion law.[6][7] She campaigned for a No vote in the 2018 Irish abortion referendum, which was approved by the Irish electorate. She often participates in TV debates.[8][9][10] The referendum was passed by the Irish electorate by a 66% majority.

Personal lifeEdit

Born Maria Davin, she is married to Neil Steen SC, they have five children, who are home schooled.[11] She graduated in 1999 from University College Dublin in Architecture and worked as an Architect with a leading firm for a number of years. She is a qualified barrister, but has not practiced since the birth of her children.[7][8] Steen is a qualified AMI Montessori teacher. She has written for The Irish Catholic newspaper.[12] Her aunt is Senator Joan Freeman, who unsuccessfully ran in the 2018 Irish presidential election.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kealy, Willie; Horan, Niamh (2 February 2014). "RTE paid out €85,000 in 'homophobe' row". Irish Independent. The remaining Iona Institute members who threatened legal action against RTE were Dr Patricia Casey, the well-known psychiatrist; Dr John Murray and Ms Maria Steen.
  2. ^ Clifford, Michael (8 February 2018). "Same-sex marriage panto descends into farce". Irish Examiner.
  3. ^ "Iona Speakers Take Part In Marriage Referendum Debates". Iona Institute. 29 May 2015. Maria Steen appeared on RTÉ’s final TV debate of the campaign on Prime Time, hosted by Miriam O’Callaghan.
  4. ^ "National Summary Results". RTÉ. 23 May 2015. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  5. ^ Kenny, Ciara (18 December 2018). "Groups respond to abortion decision". The Irish Times. Spokeswoman for the religious advocacy group the Iona Institute Maria Steen said it would be “wrong and unnecessary” to allow abortion in cases where there is deemed to be suicidal intent. “Irish law already allows the ending of a pregnancy when there is no other choice and there is a clear threat to the life of the mother,” she said.
  6. ^ Advocacy Groups and Representative Organisations: Session 4 - Citizens' Assembly (March 5 2017). Citizens' Assembly. 5 March 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Fourth Meeting of the Citizens' Assembly on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution". Citizen's Assembly. The Iona Institute will be represented by Maria Steen.
  8. ^ a b Bardon, Sarah (23 May 2018). "Maria Steen will take part in TV3 debate having previously pulled out". The Irish Times.
  9. ^ "8th Amendment Debate". Prime Time. 21 January 2018. RTÉ One."Maria Steen debates the abortion issue on Prime Time". Iona Institute. 22 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Referendum Special". Claire Byrne Live. 15 May 2018. RTÉ One."Maria Steen discusses the abortion referendum on Claire Byrne Live". Iona Institute. 17 May 2018.
  11. ^ Lynch, Donal (29 September 2014). "John Waters, Panti and me - Brendan O'Connor returns". My kids ended up playing with their kids and Sarah got talking to them and it emerged that they had home schooled their kids. We ended up in the bar one night and I said to the wife, "I heard you've home schooled the kids." And she turned to me - and it was like something from a Tennessee Williams play - and said: "I believe I have you at a disadvantage. I'm Maria Steen [of The Iona Institute].
  12. ^ "Maria Steen, Author at The Irish Catholic". The Irish Catholic.
  13. ^ McCarthy, Justine (8 July 2018). "Catholic support for Joan Freeman tackling the presidency". The Times.