Seanad debates

Thursday, 28 September 2023

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Healthcare Policy

9:30 am

Photo of Barry WardBarry Ward (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Minister of State. I acknowledge that, as he said, next week is National Breastfeeding Week. We have lower rates and I recognise programmes are in place to encourage it. My wife's experience and mine is that breastfeeding is very much encouraged in our local area. We live in Dún Laoghaire and businesses in that area want to provide facilities for people who are breastfeeding or feeding children. As I said, this is not just restricted to women as it about parents of every type and we know families take many different shapes and forms now. However, I am disappointed by the response because I am not advocating requiring businesses to do this. I am saying businesses want to do it and parents want the facilities, but the difficulty is the disconnect, especially for small businesses that do not have the resources to do it or that face other difficulties. In advance of National Breastfeeding Week, and of the budget, and in acknowledgement not of the huge plans put in place by the Department, but of the fact we have lower breastfeeding rates and greater difficulties then other European countries, is now not the time to put in place that grant? It is a reasonable thing to ask for. It is not too much. It is a facility that could be provided for parent of all types the length and breadth of the country, if the Department wished to do it.


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