Sinn Féin Deputy urges support for paid maternity leave extension

Longford/Westmeath Sinn Féin Deputy, Sorca Clarke, has called for the extension of paid maternity leave by an additional 12 weeks for women who gave birth during the pandemic and whose maternity leave is due to expire.

Deputy Clarke has called on all elected representatives within the constituency to support mothers and their families and vote in favour of this motion.

“I am calling on all TDs here in the Longford/Westmeath constituency to support the Sinn Féin motion for paid maternity leave to be extended from six to nine months for mothers whose maternity benefit claim expires during the pandemic.

“This extension is necessary because of the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic and the difficulties faced by new mothers in securing childcare.

“Right now, new mothers need the support of TDs and the Government. Many are struggling to find suitable childcare for young babies and are deeply anxious about being forced to return to work without appropriate arrangements in place.

“Sinn Féin President, Mary Lou McDonald, raised this issue in the Dáil last week, yet the Government still has not acted and time is running out.

“This is about fairness for families. I am calling on all TDs here in Longford/Westmeath to do the right thing and support this motion,” Deputy Clarke asserted.

Urgent clarity needed for adult disability service users and their families

Sinn Féin TD for Longford Westmeath, Sorca Clarke has called for immediate clarity to be provided for adult disability service users and their families, following evidence to the Dáil’s Special Committee on Covid-19 this week that some services may not resume until 2021.

“Adult day care services for people with disabilities have been suspended since March and many service users and their families have not had any proper supports for four months. This has been an unbelievably challenging time for all of those involved.

“Many families have informed us that there have been cases of anger outbursts and of loved ones being withdrawn or frustrated because of a lack of routine. Many involved have high dependency needs and there are care packages in place for them but these are not being utilised at the moment.

“Despite earlier indications that services would begin to resume in the coming weeks, evidence to the Special Dáil Committee on Covid-19 this week has suggested that some services may not resume until 2021. This is entirely unacceptable.

“Everyone appreciates the difficulties involved in dealing with the challenges posed by Covid-19, but this is a prime example of people with disabilities being failed once again. I cannot imagine what this news must be like for people and their families,” Deputy Clarke asserted.


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