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Sinn Féin will stand up for women in new Dáil – McDonald

8 March, 2011 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin TDs Mary Lou McDonald and Sandra McLellan today announced that women’s rights will be a priority for their party in the new Dáil. Deputies McDonald and McLellan were launching five priorities for Sinn Féin in the new Dáil to mark International Women’s Day.

Speaking at Leinster House Ms McDonald said:

“On the centenary of International Women’s Day, Sinn Féin is entering the 31st Dáil with a strengthened mandate – a mandate for fairness, a mandate for justice and a mandate for equality.

“Today we are outlining Sinn Féin’s priorities for the next Dáil that will aim to redress the inequalities and barriers being faced by women right across this State. It is very clear that inequality is as real and rampant as ever and must be tackled head-on by all in power.

“We must place the issue of gender equality in a wider context not least in terms of pay parity but in terms of protecting and reinstating services availed of by women.

“Despite making progress in terms of equality, women still earn 17% less than men in this State. Sinn Féin will advocate for a new equal pay framework that makes clear the obligations on public and private employers to tackle unequal pay, which allows for women to take representative action and which includes robust equal pay auditing obligations and increases the powers and sanctions available to employment tribunals and regulatory bodies.

“Rising unemployment and social welfare cuts has meant growing poverty for women, especially for single parents. That is why Sinn Féin has called for the cuts in social welfare to be reversed and for child benefit payments to be protected.

“Attacks on childcare, refuges for women and other services have made it more difficult for women to escape domestic violence. We need to ensure that funding is restored and that the judicial system is reformed so that all victims of abuse are protected by the law.

“Publicly provided quality services such as childcare, healthcare and education, would give women a real choice over every aspect of their lives. As it stands, however, public services are being decimated and access to critical services is increasingly dependent on income. Public services should be for the benefit of all the people of the State equally – we need to remove all barriers to these services.

“Sinn Féin has been consistent in calling for universal childcare and for the end to the two-tier health system that have borne so many economic and social inequalities.” ENDS

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