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Sarkozy failed his daughter -- and my France

I'M disappointed in Sarkozy. There, I've said it. As a proud French woman living in Ireland, I feel let down by my president.

Some say that we prefer for our politicians to rise above personal matters, but I'd much rather see the French president at home with his three-day-old baby this weekend than at some European summit on the current euro crisis.

Yes, we're all worried about the financial situation and the future of the country but if the president can't even take care of his baby, how can he look after my country?

It was unforgivable for him to miss little Giulia's birth. French men are expected to be there throughout the delivery to support their partner. I'm sure it's a universal sentiment.

The first 24 hours of a baby's life are supposed to be spent by their parents' side and if the clinic doesn't allow overnight stays for dads, then they should be back early the next morning.

We don't wet the baby's head in France -- why would anyone want to be hungover around a crying baby? Conservative views still prevail so it would be bad form for a man to celebrate the birth of his child with a pint of beer.

We get slated across the world because we're so fiercely protective of our long lunches and short working weeks, but the importance of a good quality of life over work and money is ingrained in us from a young age. We take pleasure in life, and enjoy spending it with our friends and family.

We're the only European country that spends more time meeting up with relatives during the week than friends. Family always comes first and it shows with our high birth rates and child-friendly policies.

Dads can take three days and another 11 consecutive days -- so three weeks in total of paternity leave. In comparison, dads aren't entitled to anything in Ireland. So why did Nicolas Sarkozy not take advantage of French law?

He'll certainly regret it when his daughter fails to recognise him but welcomes with open arms Carla's former partner Raphael Enthoven, who reportedly went to visit the first lady with his son.

And I can't imagine Angela Merkel being a great source of comfort to the French head of state, certainly not this weekend.

Carla has insisted that she will keep her daughter's life private and that she will restrict access to photographers.

In many ways, this seems wise. It's true that we don't like to see our politicians mixing their public and private lives -- we leave that to the Brits and their tabloids.

However, the birth of Sarkozy's fourth child and his first daughter has somewhat changed the stakes. When Sarkozy was elected French president and he started to display his personal life, this was considered tasteless.

He lost the nation's respect as he openly courted former model turned singer Carla.

Now that little Giulia is born, the last thing we want is for him to shirk on his most basic duties as a father. Europe could have waited.

It's time for him to concentrate on his family life, and no one would berate him for doing so unless the country was rocked by a catastrophe.

Surely, he could have skipped his chat with Merkel or flown back to Paris to hear his daughter's first cry, shortly after 8pm on Wednesday.

I've been bumped from Air France flights enough times to know that where there's a will, there's a way. He just needed to re-evaluate his priorities. When he did eventually reach the clinic, it was 11pm and he left at 00.15am on Thursday. Spending just an hour and fifteen minutes with his daughter on the day of her birth was a poor effort. Sarkozy spent as much time going for his morning jog.

And now he's off again to do what statesmen in Europe do best: to talk about everything and achieve nothing.

He might as well have stayed at home.