Sunday 17 December 2017

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says women in Ireland are not equal in 'many fields'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar Photo: Mark Condren
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar Photo: Mark Condren
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that he does not believe women in Ireland are equal.

This inequality is not just in relation to the constitution but in "many fields" he said.

The Taoiseach welcomed Minister for Children Katherine Zappone's remarks, who warned that Ireland can only become a true "Republic of Equals" when the Eighth Constitutional amendment is repealed and the State stops treating an unborn foetus as equal to a woman.

Mr Varadkar said he welcomed her contribution to the debate and said that he is aware that it is an issue that "divides families" and also divides his own party which is a "broad church."

However, it is a matter that can only be settled by the Irish people in a referendum which will take place early next year, he said.

Asked if he agreed with Minister Zappone that women were not yet equal in this country, the Taoiseach said: "I don't believe women in Ireland are fully equal but I think that's about many things, not just the Constitution. We see it in lots of different fields."

Meanwhile the Taoiseach would not be drawn further on the position he has taken in expressing confidence in the Garda Commissioner Noirin O Sullivan.

The Taoiseach made the remarks after turned the sod on the new Centre Parcs Longford Forest resort which is expected to bring 1,000 permanent jobs to the local area.

The €233m development on a 400 acre site is due to open in the summer of 2019 and will have capacity for up to 2,500 visitors.

It will be open year round and is expected to largely cater for the domestic market, with about a third of visitors coming from north of the border.

The Taoiseach said Longford has faced economic challenges but that the "tide is turning."

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