Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.57 4 Feb 2021


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The Women's Committee of Dublin City Council wants maternity leave, or some form of system, brought in for all sitting councillors.

They claim the current lack of leave is unjust and discriminatory.

Chair of the DCC Women's Committee, Councillor Darcy Lonergan, told Newstalk Breakfast there is currently nothing in place.

"At the moment, a lot of [new mothers] are just rushing back - Councillor Claire Byrne and Councillor Janice Boylan came back back to work after two weeks, Donna Cooney came back to work after a couple of days."

"They feel this pressure to come back to work cause there is no maternity leave, and there's nothing set up there like a substitute system or proxy vote.

"So by them not being there, they're leaving their constituents voiceless, they're not there for votes".

Cllr Lonergan said they have written to officials asking them to look into what can be done.

"Personally speaking, I would like a substitute system, I think it's kind of the only way to go.

"It means that we feel relaxed, our e-mails are still getting answered, we're represented at meetings."

She said such an approach could also give 'more leeway' for people to get into politics.

"I don't know if it's a deterrent, I think maybe [for] people who have children it might be a deterrent.

"For someone like myself who doesn't, it's not a deterrent to going in - but it would be deterrent for me staying in".

Dublin councillors back in work 'weeks' after having children due to lack of maternity leave

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The Justice Minister Helen McEntee announced late last year she was 'absolutely determined' to get maternity leave in place for women in politics.

She said she 'made it clear' she intends to take maternity leave herself this year, although she is still working through exactly how that will work.

It was announced in December that Minister McEntee was the first Cabinet minister in the history of the State to be pregnant while in office.

This led to a fresh debate around maternity leave for politicians as councillors, TDs and senators currently are not entitled to it.

Main image by Cindy Parks from Pixabay 

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Councillor Darcy Lonergan Dublin City Council Maternity Leave Newstalk Breakfast Women's Committee

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