Cork TD calls for parental leave  for TDs, senators and councillors

Cork TD calls for parental leave  for TDs, senators and councillors
Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns called on the Taoiseach to introduce maternity and paternity leave for TDs, councillors and senators. Picture: PA

A TD has called on the Government to give maternity and paternity leave to TDs, senators and councillors.

Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns said the lack of maternity leave in particular for female politicians is leading to a gender imbalance.

Ms Cairns said a Bill was put forward in 2017 to provide for maternity leave for sitting female county councillors but it has since lapsed.

“Incredibly this does not already exist. When I tell people this, they literally don’t believe me,” she said.

Maternity leave is not a perk and it is not a pay rise. It is a human right. Female-dominated industries are often the undervalued and underpaid ones.

“We have to ask, if there were more women at the decision-making table, would this be the case? If there were maternity provisions for female politicians, would there be more of them at the decision-making tables?

“There are 36 women TDs here out of a total of 124. It is an absolute disgrace.”

Ms Cairns said Micheal Martin’s Fianna Fail party returned a total of five women TDs out of 37.

“We can’t scratch our heads after every election and say – I wonder why we haven’t achieved greater equality when there is a glaringly obvious barrier for women.”

She called on Mr Martin to introduce maternity and paternity leave for TDs, councillors and senators.

Mr Martin replied: “I think that is a fair point. It should be provided – it is in other jurisdictions. I will follow up with you and keep in touch with you in relation to that.”

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