Cathal Mac Coille: After the talking, now it is time to act on gender equality issues

There is general agreement on the recommendations by the Citizens’ Assembly on maternity leave and home care, but how to pay for it is a question that can‘t be shirked

Helen McEntee: the Minister for Justice gave birth to a baby boy last week after starting a period of six months as a minister without portfolio during her maternity leave. Picture: Sasko Lazarov/

Helen McEntee’s baby, the first to be born to a serving cabinet minister since the foundation of the state, came into the world last Thursday with near-perfect political timing.

Two days earlier, the Meath East TD had started a six-month period as a minister without portfolio, an arrangement she reasonably described as a “sticking plaster” solution to the legal and possibly constitutional barriers that block ministerial maternity leave.

After the baby’s birth, TDs on all ...