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NWCI welcomes positive measures for women and families announced today

Published: Tuesday, October 03, 2017

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) today welcomed the announcement by Minister Doherty that the Government would extend the current 26 week period of State paid maternity leave offered to mothers in cases of premature birth, and the announcement by Minister Harris that the Government will today commit to funding IVF treatment from 2019 for couples unable to conceive.

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,
“As it stands, we know that mothers of premature babies have to return to work soon after their baby is home from hospital, so the extension of maternity leave and maternity benefit will give huge support at a very stressful time in a woman and her family’s life. This will lead to both better postnatal health for the mother, and better health outcomes for the baby, making the return to work transition easier for the mother. In addition to extension of maternity leave, there is still some way to go when it comes to bringing Ireland’s family leave policies into line with the rest of Europe. Budget 2018 should see the introduction of paid parental leave, to facilitate both parents to spend time at home with their child in their first year of life and to take time out of paid employment in the early years, as required.”

Orla O’Connor continued,
“There is no public system to allow for IVF treatment in Ireland, so it is welcome that the State is committed to detailing a policy direction for State funding for fertility treatment for couples. The move to proposing regulatory measures for the area of assisted human reproduction is also welcome. It is very important that State funding for IVF treatment is not restricted to medical card holders, but is a universal service within the publicly-funded health system NWCI advocates for women in Ireland to have access to all elements of reproductive and sexual healthcare. As Ireland’s healthcare system is reformed into a universal public health system, reproductive healthcare must form part of the public package of care for all.”

For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications Officer