Councillors demand maternity leave for elected representatives 

Dublin City Council Women’s Committee is calling on the Government to take urgent action to allow sitting councillors to avail of maternity leave
Councillors demand maternity leave for elected representatives 

TDs, senators, and councillors currently have no right to take maternity leave.

A group of councillors has written to the Children's Minister and the Minister for Local Government demanding maternity leave for elected representatives.

Dublin City Council Women’s Committee is calling on the Government to take urgent action to allow sitting councillors avail of maternity leave.

TDs, senators, and councillors currently have no right to take this leave.

The group believes the current situation is unjust, discriminatory, and goes against the Employment Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination in employment-related settings, including family status.

Committee chair Darcy Lonergan said many councillors feel pressure to return to work and as a result, miss out on time with their newborn babies.

"An ideal system would allow for a substitute so our constituents are still represented and we don't feel pressure and guilt about taking the time that we and our baby need," she said.

Councillor Claire Byrne said she was back in the council chamber within two weeks of having her children.

“When I think back I have no idea how I did that after the first one as I had been back in hospital with complications and had only been back out a few days.

"With no maternity leave, and no remote or proxy voting, as a new mother you are completely compromised in trying to keep up your role as councillor and balance motherhood," she said.

Fellow councillor Janice Boylan said: ”Rushing back to my council role didn’t help me and I suffered a bout of postpartum depression. I believe then and I believe now that we need full maternity leave entitlements."

Councillor Jane Horgan Jones said she was readmitted to hospital for monitoring shortly after giving birth, but this was the same day votes were cast for lord mayor.

"It was awkward as my vote was needed as part of the Dublin Agreement and people outside my group weren’t sure why I hadn’t turned up."

The group has previously campaigned to set up a parenting room in City Hall and has fought to change the rules to allow babies into meetings due to the lack of maternity leave and childcare facilities.

The committee believes there are grounds under the Local Government Act 2001 and employment acts to legiste for maternity leave.

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