23 Mar 2021, 09.35

The Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD, will today host the inaugural meeting of the Forum on a Family-Friendly and Inclusive Parliament. Comprising a cross section of people, representative of the society in which we live, the Forum is tasked with making recommendations which will facilitate the Houses of the Oireachtas’ ongoing development. The overarching remit of the Forum is to establish what is necessary to create a Family-Friendly Parliament which responds to the needs and interests of both men and women of all ages in its composition, structure, operation and methods of working to better reflect our society

Speaking in advance of the meeting the Ceann Comhairle said “In establishing this Forum, my hope is it will commence a process of significant and positive change which will enhance our Parliamentary Community.  For many years now we have witnessed very real barriers which block consideration and implementation of a career in our National Parliament. Without pre-empting the work of the Forum, I believe the practical and achievable recommendations which will emerge from the Forum’s deliberations will ultimately foster and support a more inclusive and family-friendly working environment for all in our Parliamentary Community. I also believe the recommendations will make life as a Parliamentarian a more attractive, rewarding and accessible career option for people from every walk of life.

I am particularly grateful to the Forum members who have unanimously agreed to give their valuable time, and share their knowledge and experience, to this initiative”.

For full Terms of Reference and Membership of the Forum on a Family-Friendly and Inclusive Parliament see below.

Members of the Forum on a Family-Friendly and Inclusive Parliament

 

Member

 

Ms Mary Upton

Former Member and Chair of Forum

Uruemu Adejinmi

Councillor

Dr Fiona Buckley

Lecturer in the Department of Government and Politics, UCC specialising in gender politics

Holly Cairns

TD

Norah Casey

Businesswoman and broadcaster

Lisa Chambers

Senator

Jim Clarken

CEO Oxfam Ireland, Executive Director of Oxfam International and a Commissioner at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

Alison Cowzer

Chairperson, Women for Election

Róisín Deery

Oireachtas Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Tom Mallon

Barrister

Ronan Murphy

Political scientist with background in public service reform and change management, Houses of the Oireachtas Service

Cáit NicAmhlaoibh

Policy Advisor & Administrator

Fiona O’Loughlin

Chairperson, Irish Women's Parliamentary Caucus

Neale Richmond

Deputy/TD

Fintan Warfield

Senator

 


Terms of Reference of the Forum on a Family Friendly and Inclusive Parliament

  1. The Ceann Comhairle has engaged persons to form a group to be known as the Forum on a Family Friendly and Inclusive Parliament (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Forum’) to facilitate the Houses of the Oireachtas’ ongoing development as a family friendly parliamentary community that responds to the needs and interests of both men and women in its composition, structures, operations, methods and work and as an inclusive parliamentary community that better reflects society in Ireland.
  2. The Forum will offer advice and recommendations to the Ceann Comhairle, who will bring the Forum’s report to the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission for its consideration.
  3. The Forum shall consider and make practical recommendations on:

      (i)   making the Houses of the Oireachtas a more inclusive, family friendly, and gender-sensitive workplace for the parliamentary community;

      (ii)   ensuring that the Houses of the Oireachtas are supported and resourced to take account of gender and equality issues when legislating;

      (iii)   improving the diversity of the parliamentary community to better reflect society in Ireland.

  1. The Forum shall consider undertaking an audit of the Houses of the Oireachtas using the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s gender-sensitive toolkit.
  2. The Forum shall consider the following matters:
  • the relevant provisions of the Constitution, and Dáil and Seanad Standing Orders;
  • the working arrangements of the Houses;
  • the processes that enable the Houses to take account of gender and equality issues in its legislative and scrutiny functions;
  • the relevant policies and procedures of the Houses and of the parliamentary administration;
  • international parliamentary best practice in areas including family friendly policies, inclusivity, and gender-sensitivity, and such other matters as the Forum thinks fit, in relation to the above.
  1. The Forum shall include the following persons:  
  • Ms. Mary Upton, Chairperson
  • Ms. Uruemu Adejinmi, Councillor
  • Dr. Fiona Buckley, Lecturer in the Department of Government and Politics, UCC, specialising in gender politics
  • Ms. Holly Cairns, TD
  • Ms. Norah Casey, Businesswoman and Broadcaster
  • Ms. Lisa Chambers, Senator
  • Mr. Jim Clarken, CEO Oxfam Ireland, Executive Director of Oxfam International and a Commissioner at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
  • Ms. Alison Cowzer, Chairperson, Women for Election
  • Ms. Roisin Deery, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Houses of the Oireachtas Service
  • Ms. Fiona O’Loughlin, Chairperson of the Irish Women’s Parliamentary Caucus
  • Mr. Tom Mallon, Barrister
  • Mr. Ronan Murphy, Political scientist with background in public service reform and change management, Houses of the Oireachtas Service
  • Ms. Cáit NicAmhlaoibh, Political Policy Advisor and Administrator
  • Mr. Neale Richmond, TD
  • Mr. Fintan Warfield, Senator
  • Secretary: Ms. Breda Burke, Principal Officer
  1. The chairperson of the Forum shall be Ms. Mary Upton.
  2. The Forum shall agree its own operating procedures and shall hear and/or consider such submissions as it thinks fit, either verbal or written, as relate to its remit. The Forum may publish on the Oireachtas website, and it may include submissions received in its report under paragraph 10.
  3. The Forum may prepare interim reports addressed to the Ceann Comhairle for transmission to the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission as it thinks fit.
  4. The Forum shall make a final report to the Ceann Comhairle, for transmission to the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission, not later than 31st October 2021.  
  5. Any extension of the deadline for submission of the final report shall be approved by the Ceann Comhairle.

 

 

 

 

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