Seanad debates

Thursday, 21 March 2024

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


9:30 am

Photo of Shane CassellsShane Cassells (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I join with the Cathaoirleach in welcoming the ambassador to the Chamber.

Regarding the events yesterday and the resignation of the Taoiseach, I pay tribute to him and his service for the country. It is important to recognise that and the role he has played in this and other Governments.

I wish to discuss an interesting piece of research that was launched today and circulated to us, entitled Mammies & Daddies report. It was a study of 500 mums and dads of kids up to 12 years of age, and I find myself in that category. It was sponsored by Aldi and it is an extensive piece of research among this cohort of society. There are some striking results, which anyone who finds themselves in that cohort will not find striking, in terms of having that discourse and the equal distribution of household tasks. In the course of referendums we have had in the past couple of weeks, we have been discussing the roles of mothers, fathers and everything. This research delves into the inequality that still exists within our households. This is to do with equal distribution of household tasks. Some 62% of women noted the non-equal distribution of household tasks and some 60% of women were looking for the requirement of greater State childcare support. Dads were involved in the conversation as well, acknowledging their ever-changing role but also the failures and pressure they find. Both stated the pressures of parenthood are putting strains on their physical and mental well-being. More than half state that since becoming a parent, their physical health has gotten worse. Strikingly, 65% of women reported the disproportionate toll parenthood takes on mums. Only 15% said their physical health had improved.

Regarding societal pressures, only 4% found it very easy to align with the societal perceptions and pressures of being a good parent. This is an interesting debate because you turn on your television and see all of the ads of what a good mum and dad is supposed to be. The media and the smiley happy faces have an impact on all this. Those of us who are parents all know that is not the reality. There is a role even for us on the media committee in dealing with advertising companies that put this perception out there. When we see the societal pressures from this research, it is adding to the strain and pressures on mums and dads.

There is a role for the State in this. There have been huge advancements in this country but we still have further to go, and this report points at that. There is a greater need for an input by the State in this area and we should discuss it with the Minister, Deputy O’Gorman. For all of us who are parents, it is interesting research to reflect on.


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