herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Michael Martin slams FF man's comment on 'real women' and childbirth

Tom Brabazon
Tom Brabazon
Micheal Martin and Bobby Aylward

FIANNA Fail leader Micheal Martin has distanced himself from comments made by one of his party's councillors on childbirth.

Mr Martin said he will be "having a word" with Donaghmede-based representative Tom Brabazon after he said voters should look to elect "real women with real -life experience of childbirth".

"We should want real women with real life experience of the education system, the workplace, childbirth, childcare, managing money in tight situations and general life," Mr Brabazon wrote in an article in The Northside People last week.

The Dublin city councillor has stood by his remarks, saying that women who had children are more qualified to debate issues such as abortion and maternity services.

2015-03-09_iri_7638290_I2.JPG
Tom Brabazon

He told the Herald last night that he has received positive feedback, particularly from women.

But his comments about childbirth experience have caused a stir among some female colleagues, including Senator Averil Power, who shares a constituency with Mr Brabazon.

Ms Power said the remarks would prove "deeply offensive", particularly for women who cannot have children.

Mr Martin was yesterday dragged into the row and forced to distance himself from Mr Brabazon's comments.

Speaking to Jonathan Healy on Newstalk Lunchtime, Mr Martin said he was "taken aback" by the remarks.

"It most surely was not party policy. He was speaking in his own capacity. It's unacceptable what he said, in my view," he said.

"It was most insensitive, and broadly speaking ... we want people of all life experience going forward and we are actively promoting that right across the country.

"Thankfully, in local elections we had a lot of good young people, young women in particular, who got elected.

"It does not accord in any shape or form with the party's view. I was very surprised by it and taken aback."

Speaking to the Herald last night, Mr Brabazon said he had received no contact from Mr Martin or the party about his comments.

He said he could not say whether he would withdraw his childbirth references because a formal request has not been made for him to do so.

"I've received a lot of positive feedback, particularly from women, in relation to what I said," he added.

unease

Mr Brabazon is expected to submit his nomination for Fianna Fail in the next general election selection convention in Dublin Bay North.

Ms Power is also due to contest the election, along with sitting councillor Deirdre Heney and former junior minister Sean Haughey.

Mr Haughey's attempts to return to the Dail caused unease among some party figures who are resistant to the return of the "old guard".

However, the son of late Taoiseach Charles Haughey is known to be close to Mr Martin.

noconnor@herald.ie

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