By Dan Walsh
Thirty-six members of the 160-member 33rd Dail are woman and Wexford TD Verona Murphy took the opportunity to speak on the topic of International Women’s Day yesterday (Tuesday).
“For the second year running, I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak on the topic of International Women’s Day. In my speech last year I spoke primarily about the positive strides that have been made over the past few decades with regard to women in politics, education and in sport, while at the same time highlighting a number of areas that needed further attention.
“I spoke last year about carers and the fact that a large number of carers are women. The programme for Government committed to a pension solution for carers. I had hoped that in the intervening 12 months a pension solution would be in place. It is disappointing that, as yet, a solution is not in place. It would provide a level of security in latter years for thousands of people who have given of themselves so selflessly by dedicating themselves to the care of others. These people are unable to build up the normal number of PRSI credits to qualify for a pension in the usual manner and deserve some flexibility.
“Last year I also mentioned the fabulous female sportspeople we have. Since then there have been further wonderful achievements by Ireland’s female sports stars. Kellie Harrington’s performance in Tokyo has cemented her place amongst Ireland’s sporting greats. Rachael Blackmore scaled new heights by being the leading jockey at Cheltenham Festival before becoming the first female jockey to win the Aintree Grand National only a few weeks later. Earlier this year Leona Maguire became the first Irish female golfer to win on the Ladies Professional Golf Association, LPGA, tour while she also put in the best performance by a debutante in Solheim Cup history. Katie Taylor won a further three fights bringing her unbeaten professional boxing record to twenty wins. In recent weeks the Irish woman, Dr. Karen Weekes, sailed solo across the Atlantic taking 80 days to be the first Irish woman to do so. Dr. Weekes worked for a period in County Wexford many years ago with Shielbaggan Outdoor Education Centre and, no doubt, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, it was the Wexford people who made her so resilient.
“Sophie Baker from my own town of New Ross represented Ireland with distinction at the Tokyo Olympics when she was part of the team to qualify for the final of the 400 metre mixed relay final. I must also mention the women of Wexford who are involved in camogie, football, soccer, athletics, rowing, swimming, cycling, weightlifting and horse riding. All and any sport that I have omitted, I congratulate everyone on their performances in 2021 for providing outstanding entertainment for us all with their commitment and dedication in all weathers.”
“I also want to take this opportunity to thank the two wonderful women who work with me in my Wexford and New Ross offices, Mary and Sharon, or Sharon and Mary, who help me to help my constituents every day. Happy International Women’s Day to all,” concluded Deputy Murphy.