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Councillor stands by childbirth remarks despite party anger

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Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Kilkenny/Carlow by-election candidate Bobby Aylward meet Pat Cahill in Kilkenny

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Kilkenny/Carlow by-election candidate Bobby Aylward meet Pat Cahill in Kilkenny

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Kilkenny/Carlow by-election candidate Bobby Aylward meet Pat Cahill in Kilkenny

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Kilkenny/Carlow by-election candidate Bobby Aylward meet Pat Cahill in Kilkenny

FIANNA Fáil leader Micheál Martin has completely distanced himself from comments made by one of his party councillors on the issue of childbirth.

Mr Martin said he will be "having a word" with Donaghmede-based councillor Tom Brabazon, who said voters should look to elect "real women with real life experience of 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," Mr Brabazon wrote in the an article published in 'The Northside People' last week.

The Dublin city councillor has since stood by his remarks, claiming that women who have children are more qualified to debate issues such as abortion and maternity services.

He told the Irish Independent last night that he has since received positive feedback from constituents, particularly women.

But his comments about childbirth have caused a stir among some female colleagues, including Senator Averil Power, who shares a constituency with Mr Brabazon.

Ms Power said the remarks would prove "deeply offensive", particularly for women who cannot have children due to fertility issues.

And party leader Micheál Martin was yesterday dragged into the row and forced to distance himself from Mr Brabazon's comments. Speaking to Jonathan Healy on 'Newstalk Lunchtime', Mr Martin said he was "taken aback" by the remarks.

"It most surely was not party policy. He was speaking in his own capacity. It's unacceptable what he said, in my view," he said.

"It was most insensitive and broadly speaking, obviously - both male and female - we want people of all life experience going forward and we are actively promoting that right across the country. Thankfully in local elections, we had a lot of good young people, young women in particular forward, who got elected.

"It does not accord in any shape or form with the party's view. I was very surprised by it and taken aback," Mr Martin added.

Mr Brabazon last night told the Irish Independent that he has received no contact from Mr Martin or the party about his comments. He said he could not say whether he would withdraw his childbirth references because a formal request has not been made for him to do so.

"I've received a lot of positive feedback, particularly from women, in relation to what I said," he added.

Mr Brabazon is expected to submit his nomination for the party ahead of the upcoming general election selection convention in Dublin Bay North.

Ms Power is also due to contest the convention, along with sitting councillor Deirdre Heney and Seán Haughey, the former junior minister.

Irish Independent