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08th Jul 2020

“Real urgency”: Extend Maternity Leave campaign continues to lobby outside Dáil

Melissa Carton

“Many of the women impacted are due back at work in the next week or two.”

Last month, former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that he would consider extending maternity leave in Ireland by several additional weeks.

This came after a group of new mothers presented a petition to the Dáil signed by over 25,000 people.

Since then there has been no word on if there will be any follow through with the move, prompting the Extend Maternity Leave campaign to again take to the Dáil with what they say is a situation of “real urgency.”

Yesterday a group of new mothers who formed the campaign met outside the Dáil to demand a three month extension to maternity leave. So far, they have had no response from ministers.

Paula Solan, one of the women leading the campaign said:

“There was an initial positive response from then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, on June 11 2020, after we handed in a petition signed by 28,000 people, calling for this extension to maternity leave and pay.

“There is a real urgency to this situation, as many of the women impacted are due back at work in the next week or two.

“We are already hearing from women being forced to resign from their jobs due to the lack of childcare available for this age group.

“We’re calling on Minister Helen McEntee and Minister Heather Humphries to agree to this extension of three months as a matter of urgency.”

The NWCI (National Women’s Council of Ireland) is supporting their calls for a once-off extension to maternity leave and pay by three months.