Supporters Update April 2021
Posted on April 01, 2021
I am emailing to wish you and all those close to you the very best for the upcoming Easter break, and to update you on some of my recent activity in the Seanad - see updates on key issues below. Although the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect us all here, and countries worldwide, the ongoing vaccination programme reminds us that better days are still to come. The most important priority is to continue to support the national public health effort. I will do all I can to help with this, as I know we all will.
For a more detailed look at my work, you can find full coverage on my website (including videos and written transcripts of my contributions in the Seanad). I am very grateful for all the support I have received from supporters over the years.
Do keep in touch on email@example.com – and thanks again for your support. Stay safe,
‘BORN HERE BELONG HERE’ CITIZENSHIP RIGHTS CAMPAIGN
On Friday 25th March, Committee Stage debate resumed on the citizenship bill that I had initiated, the Labour Irish Nationality and Citizenship (Naturalisation of Minors Born in Ireland) Bill 2018; this was adjourned following discussions with Minister Helen McEntee about how to progress aspects of the Bill. During the debate, Minister McEntee made a commitment on the Seanad record to reduce the required period of residence from the current five years to three years in order for a child born in Ireland to apply for citizenship; she also gave further details of the Government’s proposed regularisation scheme for undocumented migrants, and she committed to further engaging with me on the provisions of our Bill and migrant rights issues, more generally. Minister McEntee and others also paid tribute to the memory of our dear friend and comrade Cormac Ó Braonáin, former chairperson of Labour Youth, who died tragically in December 2019 and who was passionate about the campaign to bring greater generosity to Ireland’s citizenship laws. I am pleased to have had such constructive engagement on this Bill with the Minister on this important Private Members Bill and I look forward to continuing to effect change in this way.
PAID LEAVE FOR FERTILITY TREATMENT AND EARLY MISCARRIAGE
On Monday 22nd March, I introduced a new Labour Party Bill – The Organisation of Working Time (Reproductive Health Related Leave) Bill 2021 - to grant up to 20 days paid leave for employees undergoing fertility treatment, accessing reproductive healthcare or for women experiencing the tragedy of early miscarriage. This Bill was developed through my work with the INTO union and Councillor Alison Gilliland; they had identified the issue as requiring legislative intervention. We know that more than one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage and, unfortunately, many women and families are often left to grieve in silence. This bill will give practical recognition to the significance of fertility issues and miscarriage, and it will provide some respite for those impacted. We hope to bring the bill forward after Easter for Second Stage debate in the Seanad.
MOTHER AND BABY HOMES
On Friday, 5th March, I introduced our Labour Party Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2021 to the Seanad. If enacted, this Bill would provide all adopted persons with the right to access their birth certificates. Since the publication of the Mother and Baby Homes report in January, I have called for passage of legislation on illegal adoptions, and for adequate redress for survivors; I have emphasised the need for us to stand with survivors of Mother and Baby Homes and to be respectful and sensitive in our discussions of this difficult and distressing issue. On St. Patrick’s Day, I was honoured to participate in the Abbey Theatre’s production, Home: Part One, which documents the testimony of some of the many women and children who were incarcerated in Mother and Baby Homes. A video of the performance is available to watch on the Abbey’s YouTube channel for the next 4 months; you can watch it by clicking here.
CATCH-UP FOR CHILDREN SCHEME
In light of the negative impact of prolonged school closures on our children and young people, I have proposed the introduction of a €100m ‘Catch-Up for Children’ scheme to make up for pandemic-related lost class time and related activities. This proposed scheme has continued to receive support from parents and individuals and organisations who work with young people. The Children’s Ombudsman has made similar calls for a ‘Covid-dividend’ to assist vulnerable children who have suffered due to the pandemic, while the Children’s Rights Alliance has also made such calls. I have consistently called for universal supports, targeted at vulnerable children, such as those in homeless accommodation, children in poverty, asylum-seeker and Traveller children, and children with disabilities or special educational needs. Education, including early years education, is a key social outcome determinant and I will continue to seek to hold the government to account on this important issue.
For more on my work in the Seanad, see www.ivanabacik.com