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Budget 2016 – An important move in the right direction for women but missing the scale of the challenge

Published: Tuesday, October 13, 2015

In response to Budget 2016 today, the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) welcomed positive movement on a number of key areas highlighted by our members, including childcare and decent work, but also stated that the proposed measures still miss the scale of the challenge for women.


Orla O’Connor, Director, NWCI said,
“The announced investments into childcare are important steps into the right direction. The introduction of two weeks paternity leave is welcome and represents a success for the long campaign of NWCI to recognise the role of fathers and to distribute care more equally between women and men. We also welcome the partial restoration of child benefit after significant cuts over the last years. It is positive that the Government will invest in the quality of childcare which is critical for both parents and children.“

She continued,
“The extension of the free pre-school year is important but it is a missed opportunity not to extend the scheme to at least 48 weeks and 20 hours per week. Overall, Budget 2016 still fails to tackle the enormous issue of affordability of childcare which continues to be one of the biggest barriers to women’s participation in the workforce and civic life in Ireland. “

Decent Work

Alice –Mary Higgins, Policy and Campaigns Officer, NWCI said,
“The increase in the Minimum Wage is a positive step for the many low paid women workers. However, future recommendations from the Low Pay Commission should focus much stronger on tackling in work poverty and the gender pay gap. Given the increase in capital expenditure, NWCI calls for attaching social clauses in relation to employment, equality and environmental standards to all public procurement in order to ensure that all jobs created area quality jobs.”

Violence Against Women

Orla O’Connor said,
“The Taoiseach today promised to sign and meet the standards of the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention which NWCI and our members have been campaigning for over many years.  Now, the Government needs to prove its commitment by allocating adequate resources into its effective implementation and significantly increase funding to advocacy and support services in 2016.”

She continued,
“Violence Against Women has an unacceptable social and human cost and domestic violence was highlighted in the 2014 Garda Inspectorate Report as a ‘volume crime’ alongside burglary.  Increases in resources to Gardai must include additional resources to ensure an effective response to domestic and sexual violence “

Gender Proofing of Budget

Orla O’Connor concluded,
“Budget 2016 is an important step in the right direction for women but misses the scale of the challenge. Tax cuts in this Budget still benefit the top third income earners more than those on lower wages in cash terms. This risks eroding the revenue base needed to deliver quality public services, including childcare, in the future. We continue to call for a gender proofing of all Budget measures in order to ensure that any additional resources are allocated in an equal and effective way.”

For more information, please contact Silke Paasche, Head of Communications, Tel. 085 858 9104.