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Micheál Martin, Fianna Fáil: What we will do to advance women’s rights in Ireland

Published: Tuesday, February 16, 2016

NWCI has asked leaders from the main political parties to outline what they will do to advance women's rights in Ireland when in Government after the General Election. This is the response from Micheál Martin, Fianna Fáil. 

The upcoming general election will be particularly interesting as it is being held 100 years after the Easter Rising of 1916. This year there will be many commemorative events to respectively [sic] remember all those who died in the name of Irish equality and freedom.

The Fianna Fáil’s party theme for the general election is An Ireland for All.

There have been five regressive budgets in a row and this has impacted on families across the country. Women have borne the burden of these budgets as they are the decision makers in the home whether they work in the home or outside of it.

The recovery is two tiered and there are regions across Ireland that are still not feeling the impact of the recovery. Cutting family costs is a key priority for Fianna Fáil. Childcare costs in Ireland are the highest in Europe and we want to introduce a tax credit which will assist working parents to pay these bills. We are also prioritising an increase in child benefit.

We are committed to restoring the Lone Parents allowance as it was a particularly harsh cut that has pushed predominantly women away from the work force as their children are too young at seven to be left alone.

We believe maternity leave should be extended by another month over the next five years and we are also committed to extending parental leave.

Repealing the eighth amendment has caused many debates before and since it was introduced. People need to know what would replace the amendment before any referendum takes place.

Fianna Fáil wrote to Minister Varadkar last July requesting that a Judge led Expert Group be set up to assess what would actually replace the eighth amendment in the event of it being repealed.

We will be publishing a detailed manifesto that will be fully costed and most of our proposals will apply to both women and men. These commitments are in relation to decent jobs, banning exploitive contracts, education, disability and elderly. We have also elaborated on how we will increase the pension.

However, we have specific proposals on political reform that involve increasing the representation of women at all levels within the party and in public life.

We welcome the new legislation that requires 30% of election candidates to be women. This will be the first general election it will apply so we hope that there will be a lot more women elected to the next Dáil and Seanad. Fianna Fáil does not have a female TD since 2011 and has one Senator. Over 30% of our candidates will be women.

We have already committed to the adoption of the 30% quota for the local elections in 2019. We will also strive towards a 50/50 split between male and females at Cabinet also with the appointment of Chairs to the Oireachtas Committees and to Taoiseach’s nominees to the Seanad.

Fianna Fáil will continue to provide training courses for women in politics and we are committed to ensuring that more women get involved through our recently re-established Women’s Network.

Micheál Martin TD, Uachtarán Fhianna Fáil