Minister's comments on paternal leave are 'gross insult'
Minister Regina Doherty has come under fire for suggesting money worries are not the real reason for the low take-up of parental leave among fathers.
Figures show around 60pc of men don't avail of existing paternity leave.
However, the Social Protection Minister claimed there is "a narrative that the value of money associated with the scheme isn't enough for men to take off work".
She added: "It doesn't seem to have stopped women from taking maternity leave."
Fianna Fáil's social protection spokesman Willie O'Dea accused Ms Doherty of suggesting men have no interest in looking after their children and said this is a "gross insult".
Meanwhile, Richard Grogan, a specialist employment law solicitor, claimed it is "virtually impossible" for fathers to take the existing leave and said the decision comes down to "pure hard cash".
Last night, Ms Doherty responded to the criticism, saying: "We need to have a conversation in this country around gender roles."