October 18, 2021

‘The third Government TD from Waterford’ – Cullinane launches scathing attack on constituency rival over Dáil vote

David Cullinane has launched a stinging attack on fellow Waterford Deputy Matt Shanahan after the Independent TD voted against a Sinn Féin motion calling an extension of maternity leave for women whose leave has been affected by the pandemic.

The Sinn Féin TD said it was “astonishing” to see Deputy Shanahan vote with the Government on the issue in the Dáil this week. He went on to describe Deputy Shanahan as the “third Government TD from Waterford”.

The Sinn Féin motion called for a three month extension to maternity leave in light of the “unique challenges of having a newborn baby during lockdown” and due to difficulties securing childcare due to the pandemic.

Deputy Cullinane said: “I know that so many mothers and in particular those who are part of the Extend Maternity Leave 2020 Campaign Group will be bitterly disappointed with the vote this evening.

“They worked so hard reaching out to their elected representatives, sharing their stories and their difficulties. Despite their efforts, their pleas for help have been ignored by this Government.

“TDs had a clear choice to make in this vote this evening – some chose to stand with those mothers, others turned their back on them.”

However, Deputy Matt Shanahan rejected the criticism from Deputy Cullinane and said he voted against the motion for a very good reason.

Deputy Shanahan made it clear he felt the Sinn Féin public members’ motion lacked clarity on costing and failed to lay-out in precise terms how the extended leave would be paid for.

He told WaterfordNow.ie,”I have enormous sympathy for new mothers and new babies born through the Covid crisis, just as I have huge sympathy for the economic impact covid is having on the disability sectors.

“In both cases additional monies must be found to support (these groups). Motions such as that put last night must address burden-sharing and taxation costs, and must assess the economic impact to the whole population.

“The future funding costs, given the money will be additional borrowing, will be taxed on all citizens. In the absence of that clarity, I voted against,” Deputy Shanahan added.


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