Chair of the Irish Parliamentary Women's Caucus Senator Fiona O’Loughlin has welcomed the progress by Government in terms of maternity leave for Councillors after a cross party meeting with Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Peter Burke.
Senator O’Loughlin said “My colleagues Deputy Ivana Bacik, Senator Annie Hoey, Senator Emer Currie and I met today with Minister Burke to further advance our agenda in terms of maternity leave for Councillors.
“I have championed this for many years as a member of the Oireachtas and am pleased to now see cross-party collaboration on this issue. The fact that we have had to fight so hard and for so long on this issue is quite unacceptable and as a legislator I want to see action.
“I tabled the first admin panel motion in the Senate on the 7th of December and have been lobbying hard within Government to see action on this issue. I am delighted that Minister Burke has agreed to bring forward a bill before the summer recess to deal with this issue.
“The bill will amend three pieces of legislation, the Local Government Act 2001, Maternity Protection Act and Social Welfare act. This bill will finally provide for an authorised absence for councillors. It will provide flexibility around supports for councillors, in terms of a substitution option for those who wish to take their full maternity leave or secretarial support for those who wish to return to continue their work.
Senator O’Loughlin concluded “I would like to commend the Government for advancing this issue. These supports are absolute necessity if we want to attract more women to public life.”