Ó Caoláin urges extension of paid maternity leave
Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin has urged the extension of paid maternity leave from 18 to 26 weeks and for the issue of childcare and early childhood education to be the responsibility of a single Government Department.
He said, “Today in the Dáil I challenged both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance on the issue of childcare. I am disappointed that the Taoiseach did not accept that childcare and early childhood education need to be the responsibility of one government department. At present it is scattered across several departments –including Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Health and Children, Education and Science and Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The need for a single Minister with responsibility for childcare and early childhood education, as well as the interests of children generally, is very clear.
“I have also urged the Minister for Finance to ensure in Budget 2006 that comprehensive childcare measures are provided for, including the extension of paid maternity leave from the current 18 weeks to 26 weeks. This would harmonise leave on an all-Ireland basis and make a real difference to many thousands of families. Sinn Féin will be pressing for this and other essential childcare measures in the run-up to the forthcoming Budget.” ENDS