herald

Sunday 17 November 2019

'Childcare is a huge problem for women in Ireland', says Claire

Claire Byrne at 'Liz and Noel's Chernobyl Lunch' at the Intercontinental Hotel to raise vital funds for Adi Roche's Chernobyl Children International charity.
Claire Byrne at 'Liz and Noel's Chernobyl Lunch' at the Intercontinental Hotel to raise vital funds for Adi Roche's Chernobyl Children International charity.

Claire Byrne has made a call for better childcare in Ireland, saying she would never give up her work to be a stay-home mum.

The RTE presenter said it was still predominantly women who left their jobs to look after their children.

"What I always think about on days like today is childcare in Ireland, it is a huge problem," she told the Herald.

"I always remember that time in my career when women around me started having children.

"They had one child and they came back to work; they had two children and they start dropping off and people start giving up work to stay at home. It seems predominantly women that have to do that," she said.

"If I had one wish this women's day it is that we begin to address, in a really serious way, childcare in this country."

Struggle

As a working mum, Claire said she would never give up her job to be a stay-at-home mother.

However, balancing family and work life was a struggle, meal-prepping in advance and explaining to her children when she would be filming.

"Being quite honest, it is always difficult, it is a struggle. Yesterday I was making two dinners, one for yesterday, one for today and you're always thinking about not being there the next day and telling your children, 'I have to go to work'.

"It is always a juggle but I wouldn't have it any other way.

"I love my children and love my work and I am not going to give up work.

"I'm not the kind of person who could stay home all the time. I really admire people who do that, it is the hardest job in the world."

Asked for advice for young women, she said she never let her gender define her role in the workplace.

"I suppose I have always really loved what I do and I have worked really hard.

"I've been lucky that it has been easy for me in a way because I have refused to see gender as an issue and I have just worked on that basis," said Claire (43).

"I am just a person working in an industry, not a woman working in an industry.

"I haven't encountered too many problems when it comes to gender but am cognisant there are women who deal with huge issues every day."

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