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Karl Stanley to be appointed substitute councillor for next six months

Social Democrats councillor Catherine Stocker is to become the first public representative to assign a temporary substitute to her seat while she takes maternity leave under new legislation aimed at elected members of local authorities.

Cllr Stocker, who represents the North Central Area on Dublin City Council, will be replaced by fellow party member Karl Stanley for the duration of her maternity leave. He will officially take up the seat at this evening’s meeting (Monday, February 13) of Dublin City Council.

Cllr Stocker, who welcomed a new baby girl into her family last week, said:

“Two years ago, myself and my husband lost a baby girl at two weeks old. At the time, there was no option to take maternity leave, sick leave, bereavement leave or leave of any kind to recover from the birth or grieve the loss. As an elected representative, I was not entitled to what any other woman in the country had access to.

“The new maternity leave for councillors will allow me the time I need to bond with my baby and focus on my family without other concerns. It will also ensure that my constituents are fully represented while I’m on leave.

“Since I was elected in 2019, six of my Dublin City Council colleagues have had babies with no entitlement to maternity leave. I have also seen women with newborn infants in the council chamber because they were too dedicated to miss important votes. While they are to be commended for this, it shouldn’t be the case for any mother not to have a choice.

“The introduction of this leave is a welcome and overdue step forward for women in politics in Ireland. While some progress has been made in this area, we are still far from where we need to be. However, ensuring access to maternity leave for councillors is an important piece in that puzzle.

“This legislation is about giving women public representatives choice. Those who decide to continue in their role for the period of their maternity leave can alternatively choose to avail of an allowance to fund an administrative assistant – an option that has already been taken up by a Laois-based councillor.”

Commenting on his selection as substitute councillor, Karl Stanley said:

“I am delighted to have this opportunity to replace Catherine on Dublin City Council for the next six months and I hope to provide her local electoral area with the same dedication and professional representation as she has. It is a privilege to be part of this historic first under the new legislation.”

February 13, 2023

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