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TD mums deserve maternity leave along with all mothers

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Justice Minister Helen McEntee and her husband Paul Hickey are expecting their first child. Photo: David Conachy.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee and her husband Paul Hickey are expecting their first child. Photo: David Conachy.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee and her husband Paul Hickey are expecting their first child. Photo: David Conachy.

I learnt with absolute incredulity over the weekend that Justice Minister Helen McEntee – and all other women members of the Oireachtas for that matter – have no entitlement to maternity leave after giving birth.

One male TD described this anomaly as “an embarrassment”.

I would use the term disgraceful and it is an indictment and reflection on this male-dominated entity. As any woman who has gone through pregnancy will testify, delivering a new baby into the world is a momentous, hugely emotional and life-changing experience.

The new mum needs time to recover, to bond with her “bundle of joy” and celebrate with her loved ones.

As things stand at the moment, Ms McEntee will have to produce a medical “sick” cert to get a few days off.

Giving birth is not an illness, it is a wonderful, unique and physically exhausting event all rolled into one.

Grant Helen and all other child bearing women members of the Oireachtas the maternity leave they deserve.

Kieran Irwin

Ballingarry, Co Limerick

There’s a solution for women to end Dáil gender imbalance

Your editorial (‘Achieving gender equality is everyone’s responsibility’, Irish Independent, December 8) said “sexism is alive and, unfortunately, still kicking around Irish politics, sport, work, and society generally”.

That has resulted in the Dáil being nearly 80pc male despite this country having a minimum quota for women candidates in Dáil elections.

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The solution lies in the fact women are the majority in the electorate because they live longer. All they have to do, therefore, is to ignore other issues and vote for women candidates in the next general election.

That way they will solve their present lack of power through their lack of proportional gender representation in our democratic administration.

Since they will be a majority in the most powerful decision-making forum in our democracy the Dáil they will be in power and can confront the sexism.

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13

 

We now face disaster because planning for Brexit has failed

Boris Johnson once said a no-deal Brexit would represent “a failure of statecraft for which we would all be responsible”. In Brussels last night, that statecraft was put to the ultimate test.

Agreement in principle has been reached on the Ireland Protocol but this just gives the illusion that ground has been ceded on the British side rather than confirming what was agreed already in the Withdrawal Agreement.

It is also a nod to the incoming Biden administration in the hopes that this virtue signalling to Joe Biden’s Irish roots would be enough to curry favour and secure a trade deal with the US.

There has been so many twists and turns in the Brexit saga. One thing that is certain however is that Ireland needs to wean itself off the British land-bridge. It took the arrival of Independent TD Verona Murphy of Wexford with haulier operations experience to bring about a new ferry service from Rosslare to Dunkirk.

Such services should have been secured by government a long time ago. The opposition has been consistently calling for this planning.

There is a failure here.

Now we are on the brink of possible disaster as there is no way to absolutely predict what exactly was on the menu at dinner, how it was served and whether it can be digested by both sides.

It might be a failure of statecraft but Mr Johnson will surely paint that as a moral defence of British sovereignty which would enable him to dine out at home for many years to come.

Killian Brennan

Clare Village, Dublin 17

 

UK’s early vaccine roll-out reveals Johnson’s genius

Such a masterful politician is Boris Johnson.

To have weathered all the Brexit storms and steered the British people away from that bloc through their trust and faith in him as a great leader is a new and refreshing political direction all of Europe can learn from.

The go-it-alone bounce in the fortunes of Britain brings a welcome confidence across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, going forward.

The envy among EU nations is already catching on now that Britain is seen to exercise real freedom.

To think Boris almost died from Covid-19 and now is first to roll out the vaccine before the whole world gets organised to follow suit is a stunning achievement.

His political genius cannot be denied in the short two-year period that he has been in control.

Robert Sullivan

Bantry, Co Cork


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