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Parent's leave, illegal adoptions and Davy's scandal up for discussion at today's Cabinet meeting

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman will seek approval for the Family Leave Bill at today’s Cabinet meeting.

Image: Sasko Lazarov

CABINET IS SET to approve an extension of paid parent’s leave from two weeks to five weeks after a child’s birth or adoption.

The new measures will become operational next month, it is expected.

In addition to parent’s leave, ministers will also move to extend protections for tenants whose incomes have been affected financially during the pandemic. Legislation which is due to lapse on 12 April is due to be extended for another three months.

The paid parent’s leave extension will mean parents will now be entitled to take five weeks of leave at any time in the first two years after the birth or adoption of their child, instead of in the one-year period that was provided for in the Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019.

The additional leave will be available to parents after legislation has commenced, and is only available to parents whose child was born on or after 1 November 2019. 

Parent’s leave is a statutory entitlement for parents and is different to maternity, paternity and parental leave.

In addition, Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman will also bring a memo to Cabinet on the sampling review of illegal birth registrations.

The publication of the sampling review in illegal birth registrations, which was commissioned in 2018, was temporarily deferred so as not to encroach on the work of the Commission of Inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes. 

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions last week, the Taoiseach said now that the Commission has published its final report, a memo on the publication of the sampling review into illegal birth registrations, which will be discussed by ministers.

The Taoiseach said it is intended to publish the sampling review shortly.

Ministers will also discuss the roll out of mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals from some countries, after legislation was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins over the weekend

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said over the weekend that the next step for government was to sign a contract with a service provider and that would happen “shortly”. It is understood that a deal with one hotel provider will be signed this week.

Brigadier General Brendan McGuinness said yesterday the Defence Forces would work closely with all bodies as it supported the mandatory quarantine programme.

Private security agencies will also play a role in the new system, while gardaí will only step in when there has been a breach of the health regulations, such as if someone leaves a facility prior to the designated two weeks.

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Tourism and Arts Minister Catherine Martin will also update her colleagues today on supports for the live events industry, with the minister set to make an announcement after the meeting tomorrow.

Last week, the minister was criticised over the slow pace of supports, with the live entertainment industry still waiting for details of the €50 million fund announced for the sector in the Budget five months ago.

It is also expected that Cabinet will discuss the fallout from the Davy’s scandal. 

The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe yesterday said he supported the decision by the Board of the NTMA to withdraw J&E Davy’s authority to act as a primary dealer in Irish Government bonds.

The decision taken by the NTMA means that Davy Stockbrokers are no longer part of the primary dealer network for the sale of Government bonds.

“This is the appropriate decision given the recent very serious findings of the Central Bank,” said Donohoe.

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