Section 47. (5) Subject to this Chapter, maternity benefit [government financial support] shall be payable to
(a) a woman . . .
(c) a man . . .
(I) [only] where the mother dies . . . (II) . . . [within 40 weeks after giving birth] . . .
Section 47(5) of Ireland’s Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (No. 26 of 2005) provides that a father can only obtain parental financial support if the mother dies within a certain time period after giving birth.
Article 40 of the Constitution of Ireland: (1) All citizens shall, as human persons, be held equal before the law.
UPDATE: On 26 January 2016, the Irish government’s Department of Justice and Equality announced that fathers will now be entitled to two weeks of paid paternity leave starting in September 2016. Previously fathers only received benefits if the mother died within a certain time period after giving birth. We welcome the news and encourage the government to continue to review the issue and consider additional paid paternity leave so that parents are treated equally.