Power slams FF colleague over 'childbirth' remarks
A Fianna Fáil senator has taken one of her own party colleagues to task over remarks he made about female election candidates.
Senator Averil Power described as "incredibly offensive" and "insensitive" claims by councillor Tom Brabazon that voters should look to elect "real women with real life experience of childbirth".
Mr Brabazon, a Dublin City councillor, has argued that the public should promote election candidates with the "broadest possible experience", including childbirth.
"We should want real women with real life experience of the education system, the workplace, childbirth, childcare, managing money in tight situations and general life," he wrote in the an article published in 'The Northside People'.
Mr Brabazon added that the legislation on the area of gender quotas was "misconceived" and warned it could lead to "the worst type of tokenistic patronisation of women".
But his comments about childbirth experience have caused a stir among some female colleagues, including Ms Power, who shares a constituency with Mr Brabazon.
Ms Power told the Irish Independent last night that Mr Brabazon's comments were particularly insensitive towards women who cannot have children.
"For a public representative to suggest people who don't have children aren't 'real women' is incredibly offensive and particularly insensitive to women who have tried for years and can't have children," she said.
Mr Brabazon rejected any suggestion that his comments were insensitive or negative towards women.
He told this newspaper that his remarks were "sincere" and "genuine" and that he was merely reflecting the benefits of having children in terms of your work life.
"Look at recent issues in the news, such as abortion, symphysiotomy and difficulties in maternity hospitals. Women who have had children have a direct and well-informed view on these issues that other people who have never had children do not," he said.
Mr Brabazon said his remarks were in fact "pro women".
He said he himself is under-qualified to give a detailed opinion on issues such as abortion because he has never personally experienced childbirth.