The Government's parental leave proposals fall "far short" of what mothers who had a baby during lockdown have been asking for, according to the National Women's Council.
Children's Minister Roderic O'Gorman yesterday said the Government is to examine giving an extra three week parent's leave from next year.
It would also apply to people who have had a child during the COVID-19 crisis, or anytime from November 1st 2019 onwards.
The Cabinet approved the plans, which would extend the leave entitlement from two to five weeks as part of its Budget 2021 measures.
However, Orla O’Connor - director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) - said this is a repeat of what the Government has already promised.
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, she said: "We do feel it really falls far short from the needs that mothers and new mothers have been talking about.
"The types of things mothers have been saying to us is that really since March their access to things like medical appointments and health check-ups for themselves and their babies were all gone, as were all the support services.
"That was why so many mothers got together, they signed petitions, they've been contacting their TDs to ask for the three-month extension to maternity benefit."
Ms O'Connor said the parental leave announcement itself is a good thing, but "utterly separate" to what women have been calling for.
She observed: "I think what the Government are doing is they're taking an existing commitment and saying 'this is our way of responding to this campaign'.
"And no, it's not good enough. I know talking to so many of the women last night that they're really disappointed by this."
She said an "immediate" maternity benefit extension of three months is needed - something that would come into place very quickly rather than after the Budget.
She noted that families have faced "so much stress and anxiety" during the lockdown, and that new mothers' "special time" with their babies was very different than what they'd usually experience.