Wednesday, 9 December 2020
Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters
I welcome the Minister of State and I wish her continued success in her portfolio. I urge her to continue all of the good work she is going in that regard. This matter relates to maternity leave for county councillors. I raised this matter in the previous Seanad. If my memory is correct, Fianna Fáil backed a motion on this issue in a previous Seanad. It is an issue that has been kicked around for some time and it came to light again recently in regard to a Minister.
A lot can be said about politicians. The people they represent worst in many ways are themselves. I firmly believe that. I am sure Senator Boyhan and other Senators will agree with me that the people councillors and others represent worst are themselves. This is a case in point in terms of a county councillor who might fall due for maternity leave. Following on from the recent announcement by a Minister, it is to be hoped we will hear more joyous news in the Dáil and the Seanad as well in our lifetime. It would be great to hear the patter of new feet. Currently, female councillors and politicians are told to take sick leave. What sort of society are we living in? Politicians need to take a look at themselves. There is nobody to blame for this but us. We are misrepresenting our own people. We should be ashamed of ourselves and the work we have not done for councillors, Deputies and Senators in regard to this matter. This would not be acceptable in any other sector and it needs to be rectified immediately.
Ireland is at the back of the queue in terms of looking after councillors and other political interests. It would not be accepted anywhere else. I am of the view that this is illegal. I hope the Minister of State will be able to clarify if legislation on this matter will come before the Houses soon.