Dr Martin McAleese has warned about the danger of ignoring the role of fathers in the lives of their children.

The President's husband told a gathering in west Dublin that reducing a father's role to one of financial support alone ignores his potential as a benign, stabilising influence in his child's life.

Dr McAleese was speaking at the launch of an evaluation of Barnardos' four-year-old Da Project in the Civic Centre in Ballyfermot.

The report highlights the success of the pilot initiative in nearby Cherry Orchard in supporting and improving dads' participation in their children's lives.

The children concerned were less likely to end up in trouble with gardaí if they had contact with their father before the age of 11. They were more likely to do well in primary school when their father showed kindness, care and warmth towards them at an early stage, the report shows.

Dr McAleese said there were no grand claims that including fathers would be easy or quick, but underlined what he called clear evidence that when this work is properly structured and guided it enriches all the lives concerned.

And he warned about the 'dangerous blind spot' of ignoring the role of fathers in the lives of their children.

An assistant director of Barnardos, Francis Chance, warned that fathers are too often absent from their children's lives when State, community and voluntary services work with families.

You can download the full report in pdf format here