Kerry women’s group rep accuses Government of forgetting about new mothers

A representative from a women’s group in Kerry has accused the Government of forgetting about new mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marian Relihan of the Kerry Women’s Interactive Network was speaking after a Radio Kerry listener highlighted the lack of supports available for new mothers.

A Radio Kerry listener, who welcomed her baby in December, outlined that she didn’t qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and wasn’t initially eligible for the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme as she wasn’t on the payroll during January and February.

This listener also highlighted how the lack of access to childcare prevented her from returning to work; she ended up taking extended unpaid leave.

Marian Relihan of the Kerry Women’s Interactive Network says women shouldn’t always be the last to be considered; she believes being a mother is the most important job in the state.

She says mothers need to be considered when such payment systems are being designed:

 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has stated the Government intends to do the right thing, following calls to extend maternity leave and maternity pay for an additional 12 weeks.

He says it’s not as simple as outlined, adding there are legal and policy complexities.

Marian Relihan questions these complexities and says women need to be supported and not penalised.