The Irish Women’s Parliamentary Caucus has debated and supported Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill’s Remote Parliamentary Voting Private Members’ Bill.
During today’s meeting, the cross-party forum discussed the Bill which seeks to amend the Constitution to allow for remote voting in specific situations, including the provision of maternity leave.
Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said: “I want to thank the Women’s Caucus for their support of my Bill at today’s AGM.
“This Bill seeks to remove a constitutional barrier to maternity leave for politicians, and I am looking forward to advancing the Bill with the Caucus at the next opportunity.
“I believe all workers who are parents with new babies should be afforded parental leave, and this privilege should be extended to members of the Oireachtas.
“This Bill is one of the first steps towards flexible maternity or paternity provision for TDs and Senators. And while it is not my intention to prescribe the way in which leave for members should be provided, maternity provision requires the possibility of remote voting at a minimum.
“Having the support of the Women’s Caucus signals the importance of maternity leave not only for current TDs and Senators, but also for women who may consider running for office in the future.
“The Bill is also important for those members who may become immuno-compromised through illness. These members may lose their ability to participate in parliamentary votes through no wish of their own, but only through our failure to make inclusive provision for them. It also performs a role in future proofing the Oireachtas against any future emergencies, such as the Covid pandemic we have experienced this past year.”
The new proposed Article 15.11.4 states:
“Each House may make its own rules and standing orders providing for special and limited circumstances by which members not present in that House may vote when any matter, or any class of matter as so provided for, is to be determined by a vote of that House
Link to bill here.