Stressed parents forced to put work ahead of family

Stressed parents forced to put work ahead of family

Two-parent families are under immense pressure to remain in the workforce, leaving them less opportunity to spend valuable time with their children, a leading theologian has said.

Dr Tom Finnegan of St Patrick’s College, Thurles, told The Irish Catholic that the sheer expense of living is forcing parents into the workforce, meaning they can no longer spend sufficient time at home with their children.

“Just increasingly, especially with the cost of houses, mortgage pressures, commuting, all the rest of it, it’s difficult for people to spend time at home. There’s a lot of pressure to work in the world and earn money, to cover costs and so on – people find that difficult,” he said.


His comments come after over 6,000 people signed a petition this week to extend parental leave from 18 to 26 weeks, and that parents would be able to avail of leave until a child is aged 12 rather eight, as it currently stands.

The online petition which stands at 6,192 signatures at the time of writing states: “Parental leave is a lifeline to families with working parents. It allows them to spend time with their children and cut down on the cost of childcare, whilst permitting them to remain in employment without incurring any financial burden on employers or the tax payer.”

Speaking about how “increasingly difficult” it now is for parents to find a work/life balance, Dr Finnegan said that the idea behind Article 41.2 of the Irish Constitution which recognises the important role of mothers in the home is helpful.

“The idea is really good – that both parents, in principle, should not have to be out in the workforce just in order to keep a family afloat. But increasingly, that’s what’s happening in society.

“For a lot of people, mums and dads need to be working full time. That’s bad news for them, their kids, and for the fabric of society itself,” he said.