Sherlock demands Government review maternity leave

Cork East TD Seán Sherlock strongly demanded the Government review the extension of maternity leave on Tuesday evening in the Dáil and dismissed the Government’s claims that to extend maternity leave would be ‘too complex’. Deputy Sherlock was arguing in support of the motion to extend maternity leave.

Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Sherlock said: “For any minister to come into the Houses of the Oireachtas, and give us an excuse for not dealing with this issue with the line that it would be too complex from a legal perspective, is completely condescending and patronising to those of us who represent those women who have given us the testimonials of just how much this has affected them.

“And if we had as a bar, the standard, that all legislation would have to be simple and clear as a benchmark before you could bring forward legislation, we’d never get anything done.

“In fact, we would never have legislated for the massive amount of legislation in respect of the Covid pandemic, which gives rise to so many initiatives brought forward by government and which was extremely complex.

Childcare – government found wanting

“So, I put it to the minister, that the minister should rethink, and the government should rethink their approach in respect of this issue, and using the issue of being complex is not good enough I think for the women who have sought changes to the legislation.

“The issue of childcare is an issue that we have been raising for months in this House now. And I have said it at least on three occasions and this is the fourth time that I will say that we have yet to come up with a solution in respect of childcare in this country, and the government, to be frank, has been found wanting. 

“We’re now seeing the evidence of a regressivity, having crept in as a result of Covid-19 in respect of women’s rights in this country and for working mothers, and I would ask that the government from a policy point of view would please revisit this issue, because it has had a massive effect on women.”

‘Gone to the other side’

Deputy Sherlock went on to say that this pandemic, in respect of their (women’s) ability to progress within their careers and, and in society as a whole, hasn’t fully been measured.

“There’s no quantum or metrics that have been fully put behind us, there is some research from the Central Statistics Office, which is quite nascent I would argue, but if we are to be progressive and if we were to bring forward progressive ideas in this country in respect of how women can progress within their jobs and within society, then I would ask this government please to revisit this issue on behalf of those women.

“It’s not too long ago since there were now government ministers, then deputies, standing up in this House, and who were on the side of the angels in respect of this issue who now have gone to the other side, in respect of this issue, initially in a heartbeat. And I think that’s deeply disappointing. And the testimonials are real testimonials.”

A vote on the matter is set to take place on Thursday evening.