A CORK South West TD has slammed the situation whereby politicians are not entitled to parental leave or maternity leave.
Deputy Holly Cairns, who has offered to help out Minister for Justice Helen McEntee while she is having her baby, has said it is ‘mad that in 2020’ TDs, senators and councillors and MEPs – male and female – are not entitled to parental leave and expectant mothers are excluded from maternity leave.
Deputy Cairns of the Social Democrats told The Southern Star that she offered to ‘pair’ with the Justice Minister, who will become the first ever Minister to give birth while in cabinet. Pairing involves two TDs from different parties agreeing to abstain from voting when one of the TDs can’t be there.
‘I offered to pair with Helen if there isn’t something in place by then, and she said she was grateful for my offer but it will all depend on what arrangements are in place,’ said Deputy Cairns.
‘It’s because of a lack of female participation I think and that there hasn’t been a need and it hasn’t been pressed as much. I’ve been raising the issue of maternity leave with the Taoiseach since July and as the party with the biggest proportion of female representatives it’s not surprising that it’s something that we have been talking about.’
Deputy Cairns recalled her time in Cork County Council when she spoke to councillors there who had families while holding down Council roles.
‘They had to take sick leave while they were giving birth and had to work in their maternity beds, and their allowances were docked,’ she said.